I do not recall how or when exactly the facsination for Mahabalipuram came about, but since a few years I had developed a strong desire to visit the place. Mahabalipuram was one of the few places from history books that had become ingrained in my memory. The idea of a ‘Shore temple’ was very inviting! It had a certain charm about it which made me want to go there. I love beaches and old temples with historical significance and it did seem that the two had come together in this place!!
The idea was to drive down to Mahabalipuram, with sis. But dad was skeptical about letting us drive on our own. Also, he has this thing about frequent cyclones /depression like weather in that part of the country and did no want us to take a chance. Yes, he is overprotective at times 😐 I’d been trying to convince him since a couple of years and finally got the go ahead in Dec 2018 🙂 same time last year and hence this post!
The trip was kind of special and different from our other family outings. It was only us 3 sisters, Ammu and dad, as BIL and Adi had been to Kolkata to visit his parents. Me and Sis2 took charge of the driving – I took on the role of instructor and she became the designated driver!
Since it was kind of last minute decision to go, we could not find accomodation in Mahabalipuram itself. However, we managed to get it in a resort which was at some distance from the town. It was a blessing in disguise though 🙂
In our excitement, we had not thought about the fact that the place could be teeming with people at that time of the year and so were surprised by the huge crowds everywhere. Driving through the milling crowd and finding parking space was very challenging. We were actually relieved to drive away from the town at the end of the day and be cocooned in the resort environs for the rest of the time.
The resort is a huge one with ample space and provision for recreation. We’d loved walking, cycling , but the most exciting thing had been the swimming sessions in the mornings.
We were able to make it to the Shore temple one evening (on the first day, it was closed by the time we reached that spot). I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that the temple itself has been cut off from the shore/beach. The entrances to the temple and to the beach are separated by a fence all along 😐 The whole temple area seems to be taken care of by the ASI if i’m not wrong and is typically in line with how heritage structures/monuments are maintained elsewhere in the country, as in, well maintained lawns, etc. There is really no feel of how the place might have been in the good old times! (had the same feeling when I’d been to Hampi ).
I do not blame the authorities though… I do not have any experience in that area and hence not qualified to offer alternatives. But, if a place can be made to retain its old charm, it might provide a more authentic experience is what I think.
We were not able to actually go into the temple. Not sure if its open at any other time or one needs to be satisfied just looking at it from the outside 😐 There was quite a queue for what seemed to be an entrance at the end of a flight of stairs, but when we reached the door, we realised that it had some carvings and we cannot actually enter! After getting down, we went around to find another door at the back , also barred from entrance, as there was some maintainence work going on. This surely irked me. The authorities could have put up some kind of notice or signage.
Anyway, the temple viewed from the outside itself is quite amazing. One can still see the sculpted surfaces that have stood the ravages of time!
The shrine at the back, that had been barred. The structure within the shrine was not clearly visible but I managed to put my hands through the bars and click this pic using my phone. Luckily for me, I got a decent picture without my phone falling off my hands 😀
Although, there are many more temples in the town, we did not brave the crowds to visit them all. We were not upto it and decided that the simple pleasures of the beach would suffice for the time being. So, we ended up having a good time at the beach, which is what Ammu wanted too 😀 she has not much facsination for temples …
P.S: Do stay tuned for more pictures that I intend to post later as I do not want to crowd this one with everything.
P.P.S: With this post I’ve successfully completed the NaBloPoMo challenge that I’d taken up this month (Dec 2019). Yay!! Especially elated since I’d never taken up this kind of a challenge in my 10 years of blogging, and this 10th year made special due to this blog marathon!! Hugs to Swaram and Uma for keeping me company 🙂 ❤