Also known as Mamallapuram by locals, the Mahabalipuram Beach is situated at a distance of 58 km from the Chennai city in Tamil Nadu. The beach lies on the shore of Bay of Bengal and comprises of some rock-cut sculptures which are pleasing to the eyes. It is also famous for caves, massive rathas, chariots and temples which offer a great spot for holiday. The Mahabalipuram beach is a perfect place to relax and give yourself a break from the deadlines and work pressure on a daily basis. People from near and far flock to the beach especially to enjoy the natural sunbathing offered by the beach. The windsurfers and swimming lovers are bound to have an amazing time at the beach for they are seen doing just that on the shores of the beach.
Mahabalipuram beach is visited by tons of tourists annually due to the exciting water sports including diving, motor boating, sunbathing and windsurfing present there. You can take some time away from the fast-moving life of the city. There are a number of temples in the town with Shore Temple being the most famous one present on the water's edge. This temple is believed to be the most ancient stone temple in Tamil Nadu. You can also go shopping and buy stone sculptures for which the city is actually so famous. Most of these carvings were done during the rule of the Pallava kings in the 7th century. You need to take tickets for visiting the UNESCO world heritage group of monuments including Shore temple and five rathas which cost about INR 500 for foreigners and INR 30 for Indians.
In addition to all this, there is a hill on the western side of the town as well which is worth the visit. It can be visited from sunrise till sunset and has a number of attractions including a balanced rock known as butterball of Krishna, some beautifully carved monuments, a lighthouse and numerous temples.
You can also indulge yourself into a village bicycle tour to the Kadambai Village which is situated nearby so as to experience the rural living. This village is also plastic-free. You can also experience the Mamallapuram dance festival which is held during late December to late January at Arjuna's penance. Since Mahabalipuram is not such huge a town, you can easily walk around or for comfort, hire a bicycle or motorbike.
The natural therapies offered by the town are enough to distance you from stress completely.
Some famous attractions surrounding the Mahabalipuram beach include-
1. Dakshinachitra- This is the place which acts as a heritage centre where traditional crafts are showcased belonging to the states of South India. Also, folk artists perform cultural programs exhibiting their culture and their rich heritage.
2. Five Rathas- Pancha Pandava Rathas is the name given to the five colossal temples which have been given a different style and form. Amongst these five temples, four of them have been made out of a single rock.
3. Tiger's Cave- The tiger's cave was originally an open-air theatre present 4 km to the north of the main monument complex where numerous cultural programs took place. These caves lie in close proximity to the beach where a peaceful environment prevails.
4. Shore temple- This magnificent temple is present in the list of one of the oldest temples of South India. It was constructed in the early 8th century in the very famous Dravidian style of architecture. It seems as if the monuments present inside the temple come alive when the glittering flood light falls on them.
5. Arjuna' s Penance- This is credited as the largest bas-relief creation in the world and has 27m height and 9m width. It is believed that it holds the pride of Mahabalipuram. This rock is whale shaped and not only comprises of figures of beasts, birds, demigods and gods but represents everything that has been created by the almighty.
The climate is pretty hot and humid during the months of May and June with the temperature reaching 38 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is experienced mostly during the months of September to December and heavy rains can sometimes pose problems. During November to February, the temperature decreases to 25 degree Celsius but does not beyond 20 degree Celsius. Therefore, the ideal time to visit Mahabalipuram beach is during the months of November to February when the climate is dry, cool and under control. You can visit the beach at any time of the day, during the day or night. It is pretty much enjoyable at all times.
Since the beach is situated at a distance of 58 km from Chennai and 29 km from Chengalpattu, it is easy to reach the Mahabalipuram beach by road. There are a number of buses available from Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, Chennai and Chengalpattu to Mahabalipuram on a regular basis. You can also hire a taxi/cab from Chennai for Mahabalipuram.
For those travelling from far, you can take a flight to Chennai and then take a bus/taxi from there. Also, there are railway stations in Chengalpattu and Chennai both. From here, you can take to the road to reach Mahabalipuram.
There are numerous options for accommodation at varying prices along the beach. You can also stay nearby the beach with a lot of reasonable options situated around the beach. Some amazing hotels and resorts around the beach include Chariot beach resort, Radisson resort temple bay, Silver sands beach resort, Hotel Pallava dynasty, Hotel Vinodhara guest house, Hotel sea breeze, Ideal beach resort and Grande bay resort.
1. Any attraction which has temples around will have tourist guides asking you for a very high fee. So, choose one carefully.
2. Also, the ocean at Mahabalipuram sometimes can have strong currents, so extreme care must be taken while swimming. This happens mostly in the part to the right of the Shore Temple.
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