Mahaballapuram in motion

I arrived at noon, checked into a great (and cheap) guesthouse, had lunch, and then managed to see the town and its main attractions before evening.

Mahaballapuram is a bit like Hampi in the miniature. It’s got giant boulders and ancient caves and architecture, and in addition a beach on the Bay of Bengal. It’s also known as “Backpakistan”, as it’s a popular destination for western tourists near Chennai. True to a tourist town, one can buy plenty of “Om wear”: shirts and pants in bright colors with Om symbols and ganeshas (than I’ve yet to see on someone who lives here). Also available are tourist items from toilet paper to trinkets. No shortage here.

Wandering away from the stores brings one to the archeological sites, which seem much more interesting. 

On the beach, there’s the aptly named Shore Temple representing Pallava kingdom architecture. It was built in the 8th century, and per Lonely Planet, “is the earliest free-standing stone temple in Tamil Nadu”.


South of town there are the Five Rathas: monolithic 7th century carved structures devoted to various Hindu gods.


On the west side one will find the majority of structures and carvings. The crown gem is Arjuna’s Penance, carved out on two massive boulders depicting both mythological and mundane scenes.


Back in town, the guest house I picked out was peaceful and tranquil, with basic rooms set around a lovely courtyard filled with trees and jasmine vines. Especially at night, the aroma of jasmine was heavenly.


And this marks the end of my time in Southern India. I’m glad I finally made it here. I would say that the people have been very friendly here as well, and it has had more of a laid back feel to it. Or maybe it’s the sight of all the coconut trees swaying in the wind. But anyway, it’s been an enjoyable visit. Tomorrow I fly back north. Way north. I’ll leave it as a surprise for now. Stay tuned and be well!

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Author: mettatsunami

Just another traveler in the world. Various musings as I visit Buddhist monasteries in the UK, then make my way around the world on an extended pilgrimmage.

4 thoughts on “Mahaballapuram in motion”

  1. India seems to offer so much in the way of architecture, scenery, and photography. No wonder you wanted to visit as much as possible. Looking forward to your surprise blog regarding the far north.

    Liked by 1 person

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