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Published: December 13th 2017
Geo: 11.8674, 80.0684
TAMIL NADU - MAMALLAPURAM/MAHABALIPURAM
9TH - 12TH MAY 2007
This we have mostly been lying in hammocks on the beach of 'Ideal Beach resort' in Mamallapuram (public beachs no go area's in bikini's), also home to some great temples and sculpturer's..... but 39 degrees and humid.
For anyone who told me they "hated" me before we left here's a funny image for you, I am now so brown and so fat I look like a roast chicken!
So Mamallapuram is 1.5 hrs down the road southwards from Chennai (and 1 rip off taxi later thanks to bloody Ambassador Pallava hotel), and is tiny little fishing village full of sculpturers' workshops and temples and another tsumani victim which again seems to have recovered beautifully.
We walked up along the beach from hammock-land 3.5 km til we got to Shore temple and the village from 8.20am-9.10am one morning and it was like being in the midday sun in the south of France, I do not know how people actually live here full time, God bless 'em is all I can say. The 7th century Short Temple is a good example of Pallava art apparently, it faces the bay and is very impressive and it survived the tsunami no problem. Alot of the temples are kinda gaudy but this is much different, classy you might even say and it's World Heritage listed now too.
There are a number of ratha's around too which seem to be rock cut-temples that you'd meditate at as opposed to a temple building you can enter. How they cut these rocks I'll never know, our favourite God is Ganesh, mainly cause he has an elephant head, and his ancient Ratha was great complete with 'Krishna's butter ball' which is a precariously balanced massive immovable boulder. And then there's Arjuna's penance which is massive relief carving on the face of a huge rock which depcits animals, deities and hindu fables which again is a marvel.
We tried some of the bars and restauarants and they were what you'd expect but nothing to write home about. There is tonnes more stuff to do in the area but as I say it was at least 39 degrees so the hammock option was better (heat way more at the ratha's when bouncing off rocks). But lying in a hammock by the sea on a Thursday morning in May, half in the shade, half in the sun, listening to Mercury Rev song 'Holes' with a good set of headphones, staring at crystal blue sky is very very hard to beat.
Our hotel was gorgeous and our 'cottage' had an open air shower and bath which was the bomb and had a lovely balcony for sunsets. Everyone else there seemed to be Dutch and German so we thought next stop better be to see how the French were getting on 2 hours down the road in Pondicherry.....
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