Mahabalipuram, which is located 50Km from chennai. Driving across East Coast Road is truly a life time experience. There are many archaeological sites in Mahabalipuram like Varaha Cave Temple, Shore Temple, Panch Rathas etc.
A Bike Ride from Chennai to Mahabalipuram:-
Route : Chennai Thiruvanmiyur – ECR – Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram is just about 50 km from my residential area in Chennai and the road is a scenic beauty along the East Coast. There are two roads to reach Mahabalipuram with one being Chennai – ECR – Mahabalipuram and the second being Chennai – Tambaram – Mambakkam – Mahabalipuram. The latter one takes you through city chaos and is best avoided. Hit the ECR road right from the beginning and enjoy the beautiful road all along. The journey takes hardly about 75 minutes and could increase owing to the number of stops one decides to take. There are quite a few beaches all along the road with few being private and rest are all open to public.
The route was pretty scenic – a beautiful shoreline running parallel to the road. The first place to visit is the Pancharatha – or the 5 chariots.
The place was really nice, and the weather was decent. Although hot and windy, it wasn’t sunny. The Pancharathas are monolithic temples resembling wooden chariots (rath). They were built in the time of Pallava King Narasimhavarman-I. It was pretty intriguing to note that the temples have been carved out of a huge rock. In addition to that, there were huge sculptures of animals as well.
Another marvel of nature near the Arjuna’s penance is Krishna’s Butterball. This is a huge rock of around 16 m in diameter that has balanced itself on a slope for over a 1000 years. No one knows what’s keeping its balance. Every effort to roll it down, using elephants or cranes, has failed.
Places of interest :-
(a) Shore Temple
(b) Pancha Rathas remains
(c) Decent of the Ganges (Arjuna’s Penance)
(d) Seashell museum
(e) Krishna and Varaha Cave temples
(f) Mamallapuram Light house
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