Weekend Gateway from Chennai-
Mahabalipuram is a beautiful and one of the most sought places in Tamilnadu. It comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is popular because of its sculptures, temples and historic monuments that depicts the historical traditional and cultural legacy of the State.
How to reach:
- Nearest Airport: Chennai (53 Km from Mahabalipuram)
- Nearest Railway Station: Chengalpattu (22 Km). The train for Chengalpattu can be taken from Chennai beach/ Egmore (MS) Station.
The following route can be taken for personal car/public vehicles.
Chennai- Adyar – Rajiv Gandhi IT Expressway- Kovalam Road- Mahabalipuram. The road condition is very good (mostly) and it will take hardly 40-45 minutes to reach the place. If you can starts early (before 5 am), you can get stunning view of Sunrise along the East Coast Road (As the road is parallel to sea shore).
Best Time to Go: Best time to visit the place is October- December, though the weather may be ok in August –September. In October- December, the temperature is generally 25-28 degree Celsius in daytime and 20- 24 degree Celsius in night.
Places to see:
- Crocodile Park: If you are going by cab/taxi, the first place you can visit is Crocodile Park. This is approx. 40 km away from Chennai. Almost 3.2 hectares spread along, this park has turned 40 Years in this year (2017). The park is open from 8.30 am-5.30 pm (Tuesday- Sunday).
In the mid-20th century hunting crocodilians was a lucrative hobby, and by the 1970s, India’s crocodile populations had been exploited to the brink of extinction. Realizing this fact, the Indian government protected all three species of Indian crocodilian under the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972. (Check http://www.madrascrocodilebank.org/web/history).
There you can see 17 species of crocodilians, three of which are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered with a further three listed as threatened. There are many other species of Snakes, Birds, Tortoise/Turtle, Toad/Frogs, Lizards are available. There is a place where you can witnessed, how the venom from the snakes are taken and preserved for making of medicine.
This place is kids friendly, so you can take your kids, I am sure they will also enjoy everything.
- Shore Temple: This one is most beautiful sculpture in Mahabalipuram. As the name suggest it is just beside the Bay of Bengal. It was built during the reign of the Pallava King. The two towers rise above shrines to Shiva and between the Shiva shrines is one to Vishnu, shown sleeping. There are rows of Nandi (Shiva’s vehicle) statues frame the temple courtyard. The key attraction of the Shore Temple are the five chariots or the Pancha Pandava Rathas, four of which are named after the Pandavas and the fifth one is known as the Draupadi Ratha. Each of these Rathas is huge and discrete from the others, speaking of the aesthetic excellence of the artists of that time.