Mamallapuram: on the coast of Coromandel

Blogging challenges, India

Picture a perfect tropical beach.  The palm trees.  The white sand.  The sun in a cloudless sky above a calm blue sea.  That’s Mamallapuram.  Now look just behind the beach.  Are those statues, monuments?

Beach at Mamallapuram with the Shore Temple in the background.

Yes, they are. This town was once a thriving international port.  The Chinese came here.  The Romans came here.  Sailors and traders from around the known world came here.  An 8th century text describes how ‘the ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking, laden as they were with wealth, big-trunked elephants and gems of nine varieties in heaps‘.

Shore Temple, Mamallapuram

And so it was that just before this time, King Navasimharavan and his successor Rajasimharavan built a series of magnificent temples portraying the events of a great Hindu epic Mahabharata.  There are pavilions.  There are shrines shaped as temple chariots.  There are imposing carved elephants.  Here: you can wander round as I did, together with many Indian Sunday trippers.  I simply enjoyed these monumental carvings, without going deeply into their history.  I was quite simply too exhausted by then.

Later I ambled round town.  I bought soap and a toothbrush – remember, I hadn’t planned to spend the night here when I left The Hotel from Hell in Chennai.  I got a few more souvenirs to take home. I ate on the open terrace of a sheltered restaurant, finding easy company in fellow-travellers.  It was a perfect day.  My last day.  I’d be getting up in the morning to go back to Chennai, pack, get to the airport and … fly home.

An entry for Six Word Saturday.

 

 

22 thoughts on “Mamallapuram: on the coast of Coromandel

    1. I’m near-vegetarian, and my son had a seafood-related incident in the same town some years before, so yes to the beach and the beer. No to the prawns. I was quite happy.

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  1. They ARE magnificent. And most of the site is in such good nick for an open air location. Sites like this, en plein air, have such a different feel to them.

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