My Holiday at Mahabalipuram, Mamallapuram, Mahaballipuram

Friday, and the weekend had arrived and we were all excited. Why? We were on a holiday to Mahabalipuram. We all packed our bags and waited anxiously for the Shatabdi Express to arrive at the Bangalore City Railway Station at 3.30 p.m. The train finally came in, and we all jumped in put our small back-packs on the upper luggage racks and found our places.

Bangalore City Railway Station - Old Station
The journey was quite comfortable and we had lots to eat. Of course we went in a big group and there was lots of singing and fun. We arrived at Madras Central Railway Station ( now called Chennai) around 9 p.m. This station is really beautiful, but as we arrived at night we could not see much of it. We caught buses from the station and it took us about two hours to reach our destination - Mahabalipuram, some refer to it’s ancient name Mamallapuram. If you like to see some of the pictures bigger, then you would have to click on them.

We arrived at a hotel called the “Silver Sands”. which has a nice clean beach and fairly good food. The rooms are like old village styles - rustic is the word, even the call bell is an actual brass bell that you would have to shake. We rushed down to the beach to see the sea. We were a little afraid of the waves as the flood-lights could not light up all the incoming ones and we could only hear the sound of the incoming waves. Once someone even lost a slipper trying to run back to the beach avoiding the wave froth, but after a while, we got used to it and enjoyed the waves and the feel of the water around our legs.

The balcony facing the sea Bridge from the beach One of the many gardens Testing the water at night
Early morning splash Relaxing on beach chairs A surfer to the core

Early morning could not be earlier enough, and hardly had the sun peeped over the horizon’s edge, when we were at the water again and we had a great time making castles which the waves would wipe clean. It’s a pity we don’t seem to have any photos of the castles.

We had lunch, took a bus and went to the “Shore Temple”. Actually one can walk along the beach from Silver Sands and you would also be able to reach it, but then you would be smashed!!

The Shore Temple was originally spread out where the sea keeps on lashing the shore, but the waves have eroded and broken the soil and the temple stones had been washed away. Now the Government has placed big boulders around the seashore to avoid the waves from further damaging this great piece of art.

Here are a few photos to help you to enjoy what we saw:

View of the Shore Temple from Land A few large carved blocks of stone A view through the temple
A side view of the temple A lion in stone From the sea to land view

After our visit to the Shore Temple, we decided to see some of the other spots close by , ( all the other spots are within walking distance, but we being a large group were transported by vans), like the big rock carving called “Arjuna’s Penance” or Bhagiratha’s Penance.

Arjuna's Penance Arjuna's Penance Arjuna's Penance

Close by is a hugh balancing rock called Butter Ball (Sorry no photos of this!!).

Then we went to see the “Old Light House” (also called Isvara Temple) which is supposed to be over 1000 years old. People in those days used to light fire on the top of the structure so that ships could take their bearings. The base of this light house is in the form of a cave temple called the Mahishasuramardini Mandapa. These monuments belong to the 7th century.

From the top of the Old Light House, we can see the New Light House which is closer to the sea and is over 100 years old. This one has a great spot light. One can see the five rathas and across the lagoon to Punjeri the original port of Mamallapuram. It was developed as a horbour by the Pallava kings who ruled from Kanchipuram.

Old Light House ontop of Mahishasuramardini Mandapa It's scary up at the Old Light House A view of the New Light House from the Old

Finished with the heights, we decided to stick to terra firm, as climbing of the old light house can leave one quite exhausted and dizzy.

We then went to see the “Five Rathas” or Pancha Pandava, which are basically a large rock which many different smaller temples are carved out, these are referred to as monolithic temples. These are named after the five Pandava brothers, heroes in the epic Mahabharata. The largest temple is the domed Dharmaraja, the cylinderical Bhima, another dome ratha called Arjuna. Looking like a thatched hut but of stone is the Dranpadi, and Namdi. Then we find the Naskula Sahadeva and an elephant. There are also Bhima and Ganesh rathas.

The Five Rathas The Five Rathas The Five Rathas The Five Rathas
The Five Rathas The Five Rathas The Five Rathas

By now, the sun had scorched us and we were tired so we headed back to Silver Sands to rest and have a relaxed time at the beach, playing till the evening we went to see “Little Folks” a small fun place for kids. We really enjoyed ourselves here and had a great time. Unfortunately, we did not take the camera as we were in a rush. We went to bed looking forward to another day.During the Day we window-shopped at SilverSands Curio shops which had lots of Kashmiri stuff, like clothes and jewellery.

The next morning, after a little frolic on the beach, we went to see “Dizzee World”, and there too we enjoyed ourselves and took lots of photos. There were lots of water rides and bumping car rides etc., of course, everything costs lots of money besides the entrance!! ( I will have to scan these for you and will put them up later... keep an eye out!).

After returning back to Silver Sands for lunch, we packed and left for Madras and on the way about an hour’s drive, we stopped by the “Crocodile Bank”. Here we saw hundreds of reptiles, and many interesting species of alligators and crocodiles. There were a few lizards, and a place where they showed how to extract cobra’s venom.

The Ole Croc Bank! The Ole Croc Bank! The Ole Croc Bank! The Ole Croc Bank!

We then set off to Madras Central Railway Station to catch the Night Mail which left at 9.30 p.m. to reach Bangalore early the next morning at around 5.45 a.m., and Back To School!!

Hope you enjoyed my holiday and my page. Do send my your comments to

I will be back again, perhaps on my trip to Kerela.

Love Joanne