The east coast of South India has a bunch great places to visit. If you missed Chennai, the business capital of Tamilnadu, there is Pondicherry, the union terrirory and Mahabalipuram, the UNESCO world heritage site and Kanchipuram, the home industry of traditional silk sarees. All of the coastal cities have hot and humid weather around the year, but if you brave it, here's the best of Mahabalipuram.
|entrance to the Shore Temple|
Pallavas were a flourishing dynasty of 7th century AD. Mahabalipuram was their important port for sea trade. The main shore temple on the shore of Bay of Bengal has been eroded by the winds from the sea and soil erosion over the last 1300 years.
Add to this the foreign invasion faced by dynasties the lived their legends in this land, the shore temples gie a more ancient look and feel older than they actually are.
Mahabalipuram is also famous for Arjuna's Rathas or the the 5 rock-cut chariots symbolized by the Hindu Mythological charcters: 5 Pandavas.
The present day Mahabalipuram is a tourist friendly UNESCO heritage site. Bicycles can be rented to ride around the little town, hopping between architectural sites and cafe's.
|View of the Shore Temple from its green gardens, in early February.|
The coastline itself is a dominated by the fishermen who make their living. There are a few cafe's on the beach but the popular hangouts are mostly on the mainland.
Accommodation: Walking accommodation for decent guest houses . There's aren't too many beach facing rooms for budget guest houses but are a very short walk from the beach. There are also good resorts for the classy traveler.
Cost: average traveler can keep a budget of Rs.1000 per day including food and stay.
Food: Seafood is a specialty. Most restaurants insist on Chettinad flavours which are very spicy even by Indian standards.
Note: Nightlife is poor unlike Pondicherry or Gokarna which are small towns in the same league. Most hotels shut by 11 pm.