Complete Guide to Mahabalipuram

Complete Guide to Mahabalipuram

If you are traveling around Tamil Nadu then most probably you will be transiting through Chennai, and I would recommend you to spare two days for Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram. It’s just a short drive from Chennai and the four-lane highway is just butter smooth. The drive from Chennai will surely be picturesque as you would be able to see the Bay of Bengal to your left coming into view from time to time. I keep visiting this place often as I always prefer to take the night flight back to Kolkata from Chennai since I get cheapest air tickets on this route and extending my return date by accommodating a short trip to this place has always been my favorite.

Mahabalipuram is much more than a temple town, it’s rather a heaven for stone architecture lovers. This coastal town has some of the finest collection of early Dravidian architectural marvels. There are lots of things to see in this place. Most of the places of interest are in groups thus it’s easy for you to navigate. While doing my research on Mahabalipuram before going I had difficulty in planning my route as no site or blog points out all the places of interest in a single document thus I had decided to write this blog which would list down all the major important landmarks in this town.

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A Hotel Named Disaster


With the coming of the digital and Internet age, everything seems to revolve around the internet these days. Be it booking train tickets online to buying a car battery online, and yes I did replace my car battery by ordering it online. Due to my habits and hobby of extensive travelling I have started doing everything on the net, initially it was with a computer then a laptop and now with my mobile. Things have become much smoother and any information or reference that you want can be easily looked and referred online.

I have been booking hotels and home stays since 2010 by using various aggregator portals. Usually, I would like to choose a locality which would be easily accessible from the airport or train station followed by the distance the place is from the tourist attractions in that particular city.

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Churches of Pondicherry

Churches of Pondicherry (1)

India being once part of the British Empire saw its share of cross-cultural amalgamation especially when it comes to architectural style. However India being a pretty large land mass there were also some pockets of French, Portuguese and Dutch settlements. One such classic example is that of Pondicherry, a small town which had been completely engulfed into the lifestyle of a classic French town prior to India’s independence and few years even after.

After the De Jure of 1956 which was the treaty under which Pondicherry and other French territories of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam became Indian territories. There was, however, a twist where Pondicherry did not merge with Madras (Tamil Nadu) but instead remained as a Union Territory.

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Zero Point – North Sikkim

Lachung Zero Point (1)

This is the last leg of our journey during our tour of North Sikkim, we have already covered Lachen, Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung. Out last stop was at Yumthang Valley and then finally at Zero Point. From Lachung there is also another option that of Katao but it’s not a common tourist trail and would require a separate military permit as it’s a high altitude training camp and not always open to tourists. We were informed by the hotel staff that in order to visit all these places we had to start early and breakfast will be packed so that we can have them on the way. Hotels insist on taking snow boots since most time of the year Zero Point is covered in snow and unprotected footwear should be avoided. However, I would suggest that you go to Zero Point and hire them there since it would be much cheaper out there.

We were ready by 6 AM in the morning and with food packets ready we set out towards Yumthang Valley first. All our travel documents were already checked at the check post after which only you are allowed to proceed. For breakfast it was just some cold slices of bread with a thin layer of jam thus would suggest making your own arrangements instead of banking on the hotel menu.

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Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort (1)

My visit to Jodhpur was part of my grand family tour of Rajasthan covering Jaipur -> Ajmer – Pushkar -> Jaisalmer -> Jodhpur. This was my last leg of the journey in Rajasthan and after travelling so many places we still had enough energy to push on. Our train from Jaisalmer was at around 5 PM which reached Jodhpur at around 11 PM. I had booked a home stay at Jodhpur and the owner was quite cooperative and gave me the detailed direction and approximate cost that the Auto might take from the station to the home stay.

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Amer Fort Jaigarh Fort Jal Mahal

Amer Fort Jaigarh Fort Jal Mahal (1)

The first planned vacation that I took with my family that is with my wife and daughter together was to a long tour of Rajasthan. I had planned this long vacation during Durga Puja since that is the only time I get a really long vacation from office. Unlike any other vacations that I had taken with my wife or as a solo traveller this was a bit different since I had my three-year-old daughter with me. Considering her age I had to plan my vacation such that she gets good rest between my hops through the different towns.

I had planned to visit Jaipur -> Ajmer – Pushkar -> Jaisalmer -> Jodhpur for this trip. I had purposely skipped some of the other important towns since I wanted to give enough time at every location rather than hurrying from one to the other. Places like Udaipur, Mount Abu, Bikaner etc. was planned to be covered at a later stage when my daughter would grow up a bit to enjoy these places.

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