Long time since i've ventured outdoors. Thanks to the weather in Chennai. Like the saying goes, "Hot, Hotter and Hottest"!!!. Literally. But a friend and the long standing want of taking Ananya out was motivation enough. Destination Mahabalipuram :)
Its an old and quaint li'l town about 50km from Chennai. The best route to take is the scenic and picturesque East Coast Road, ECR fondly to Chennaiites. To tell you about ECR, its one of the smoothest you can ride on and it follows the South-Eastern Coast of India till Pondicherry, which is about 160 km away from Chennai. So its real picturesque and u'll love the sultry air hitting your helmet all along. Speaking of helmets, heed my warning. Do wear one. ECR is notoriously unsafe for two wheeler riders. Cars and Buses wont care two hoots to give u a small nudge in the arse and you'll be reeling on the ground before you know it.
Coming to Mahabalipuram, its a real old town, rocky terrain, sandy, because of the Bay of Bengal to its East. It was a pretty busy port in the times of the Pallavas. The town had a Lighthouse made of stone, coupled with a watchtower! So much for ancient! There is a modern one too..but thats 110 years old too!!! Pic of the light house and its 'dated' stone below
Sleepy and laidback, its a perfect little weekend getaway. Other than the bus terminus, life moves at its own place.
This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. Formerly, mahabalipuram was known and called as Mahabalipuram. The former name of this place ‘Mahabalipuram’ has a history. A very rude cruel king Mahabali reined this place and in a fierce battle king Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu and the place was named after the dead, arrogant kind Mahabali.
It was during the reign of King Narasimha Varman I, the name Mahabalipuram was changed. It was renamed mahabalipuram which is called till now. There is a story behind. The name Mamallpuram king Narasimha Varman I was a great and valiant warrior. He was given the title Mamalla which means ‘the great wrestler’ so the name was converted from Mahabalipuram to mahabalipuram considering the great king and his achievements.
The not to be missed places are the 5 ratha temple, huge area of rock carvings(to list it out, the tiger cave--5km before mahabs, the mahishasuramardhini cave, the modern(the 110 year old) lighthouse, ramanuja's cave(not the math genius, the bit lesser known saint), a royal gateway made of a single stone, and the most famous govardhana rock). The bracketed ones are in the same area, and that extends for miles!!! The biggest mystery if you'd call it so, is that its a big egg shaped one, stands on a downward sloping hillock and stays in one place without any balance! No force moves it! U might say center of gravity and all, but the application of force/torque would shift it and it would lose its balance right? Well, this one does not! No one can seem to explain why. Let me know if the one reading this can.
A much lesser known fact about the pancha ratha temple is, it has nothing to do with the pandavas. The Basso Relievo(Bas-Relief) are actually dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This face can be seen in the description board at the lesser famous tiger cave, located 5 km before Mahabs.
The Mahishasuramardhini Mandapam is a rock cut cave temple. This mandapam very well depicts the fantastic craftsmanship of the pallavas. It consists of three small shrives in the inner wall which is exactly the typical pattern of the pallava art and architecture. On the northern wall, the battle between goddess Durga and the buffalo – headed demon, Mahishasura is beautifully inscribed Mahishasura symbolizes animal strength, ignorance and egoism to go with. Every gods and celestial beings depended upon Mahishasura. In the course of time, Mahishasura became more frightful. Devi Mahaturya while describing his power refers that when be ran the earth broke to pieces and the swing of the tail made the ocean water spread everywhere. Then the tyranny of Mahishasura was destroyed by the three supreme lords, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, in the form of goddess. Many poets have sung in praise of this perfect portrayal especially by Heinrich Zimmer
Then there is the ultra famous shore temple, resting royally on the sea shore of Mahabs. Its under renovation currently, to undo the damage caused to it by the merciless tsunami of '04. Then there's the beach of course. Its brilliant!! Lots of fun if you have company. Even at 12 noon I had a blast with the waves. Mind you, Do not! I repeat, Do not walk on the sand barefoot, especially in the summer. It'll singe your feet. Yours truly was one of the unfortunate sufferers.
There are some lesser known rock temples if you are an RLT kinda traveller. But I had such a blast in those famed ones that I forgot my RLT endeavour.
P.S: For all of you who're thinking who Ananya is.She's my ride. I've given my bike that name.:)
P.P.S: Its not only Vettel who gives his cars names, I do too :P
P.P.P.S: Have tried to add as much detail as possible without making this post too long. Forgive me if there are some glaring omissions. Will try not to consider it :P