Published on January 1st, 2013 |
by iDidGo Blog Team
Mahabalipuram Beach, India
Want to enjoy the beach atmosphere but can’t get to the west coast of India? Mahabalipuram beach (or Mamallapuram as it’s otherwise called) is the pick of the beaches on India’s east coast. It’s got a thriving backpacker scene, but is also popular with tourists who come to relax at the resorts there.
Mahabalipuram is located around 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Chennai, on the east coast of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. It’s 95 kilometers (59 miles) north of Pondicherry.
Getting to Mahabalipuram:
Mahabalipuram is around one hour’s drive from Chennai. It’s possible to get there by local bus, taxi, or auto rickshaw. Expect to pay around $20 in a taxi compared to 50 cents by bus. The nearest railway station to Mahabalipuram is at Chengalpattu (Chingleput), 29 kilometers (18 miles) northwest. It’s also an hours drive away, and $10 in a taxi.
Mahabalipuram has a hot and humid climate, with summer temperatures in late May and early June often reaching 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). The town receives most of its rainfall during the northeast monsoon, from mid September to mid December, and heavy rains can be a problem. The temperature decreases to an average of 25 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit) during winter, from November to February, but doesn’t drop below 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). The best time to visit is from December until March, when it’s dry and cool.
Mahabalipuram beach itself isn’t particularly special, but the town is full of interesting temples, including the windswept Shore Temple right on the water’s edge. Mahabalipuram is also known for its stone sculpture industry and rock cut caves. Two of the main attractions are the Five Rathas (sculptured temples in the shape of chariots), and Arjuna’s Penance (a huge carving on the face of a rock depicting scenes from the Mahabharatha). The Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held during January at Arjuna’s Penance. For delicious food try the family run, airy rooftop Gecko Cafe, on the way to the Shore Temple.
Mahabalipuram doesn’t have a wide range of hotels to choose from, but there are hotels to suit all budgets from inexpensive to luxury. The beach resorts are generally located to the north of the town center, where the beach is better. However, if you want to stay closer to the action, you’ll find a number of reasonably priced options in town. Here are five of the top hotels in Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram.
Mahabalipuram Dangers and Annoyances:
As always in India, where there are temples there are so called guides offering to share their knowledge for a high fee. The ocean at Mahabalipuram can have particularly strong currents, so care should be taken when swimming. This is particularly the case to the right of the Shore Temple.