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Month: May 2017

An Ancient Land Called Mahabalipuram

An Ancient Land Called Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mahamallapuram is situated in Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu.  It is famous for the monuments built in 7th -8th centuries by the rulers of the Pallava dynasty.  The monuments are listed on the world heritage sites list.

Mahabalipuram is around 30 minutes far from Shollinganallur (the place we stayed). We, a group of friends took shared auto from Shollinganallur to Mahabalipuram. The entry ticket is 30 INR for Indians and can be used for visiting other monuments around Mahabalipuram. Visiting time: 6 AM to 6 PM.

Places to visit:

The Shore Temple:  It is one of the oldest stone temples in India and is made entirely of granite stones. There are three temples, one large and two small. If viewed from a Nothern end, the temple appears like Dharmaraja Ratha. This pyramidal structure is placed on a 50 feet platform and is approximately  60 feet high.

5 Rathas: Built during the 7th century by the Pallava ruler, the 5 rathas are architectural marvels.  The Rathas are excellent examples of Dravidian Architecture and are monoliths ( each Ratha is chiseled out of single rock). The five rathas are named as ‘Dharmaraja Ratha’, ‘Bhima Ratha’, ‘Arjuna Ratha’, ‘Nakula Sahadeva Ratha’, and ‘Draupadi Ratha’ after the five Pandava brothers and their common spouse Draupadi from the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. This place is listed in UNESCO world heritage site.

Arjunas Penance:  It is a monolith wonder  43 feet tall. One can see intricate art on the rock depicting the scenes of the natural and the celestial world. These carvings are a treat to the history buffs 

Arjuna’s penance

Caves and Mandapams: there are various mandapams or halls all through the monument complex. Some of them are Krishna mandapam (the largest cave), Varaha mandapam, Ramanuja mandapam. And several caves like  Mahishasura Mardini cave temple and the tiger cave( this is situated several KMs outside the Mahabalipuram monument complex).

Varaha Mandapam-source-Wikipedia

Krishna’s butter ball:  It is a gigantic ball shaped rock that is inclined at 45 degrees without rolling down. The massive rock weighs several tons and has been standing that way for over thousands of years now.

Krishna’s butter ball source:wikipedia

 Tip: There are a lot of refreshments like raw mangoes, fried groundnuts, water bottles and juices available nearby, that is sold by the locals at a bit higher prices. It is advisable to take your own water bottles and some snacks.

Mahabalipuram lighthouse: One can visit the top of the lighthouse after paying a nominal entry free. One has to walk a lot even to reach near the lighthouse.

Raya Gopuram: It is an unfinished tower, yet it was worth visiting. It was supposed to be the entrance to all the monuments on the hill.

Raya gopuram -source-Wikipedia

One can visit the seashore and enjoy the breeze and get back to Shollinganallur ( good hotels are available for stay) by evening.

 

Beach Hopping in Mangalore

Beach Hopping in Mangalore

I am a Thalassophile-Lover of the sea. The infinite sea never ceases to amaze me. Having spent my entire life near the coast, the sea is something that always soothes my soul. This article is about the beaches in Mangalore.

Mangalore is a coastal city in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. It is approximately 350 KM from the state capital, Bangalore. One can visit Mangalore on weekends for a dose of Vitamin Sea. Beaches are one of the major attractions of the city along with numerous temples, churches, and parks.

To reach Mangalore from Bangalore, There are plenty of government and private buses from Bangalore (VRL, Sugama, SRS etc) that start from various locations in Bangalore. One can also take a train (new Kudla express) or a flight to Mangalore.

There are private buses available to travel within the city( Bus numbers 45,56 15 from Mangalore). There are plenty of Ola cabs and autos available too.

Visiting the beach is preferable during the evening because Mangalore is really hot!!! To start off, visit the famous Pabbas ice cream parlor in Lalbagh (near KSRTC bus stand) and savor the yummy and delicious ice creams(Gadbad, Tiramisu, Chocolate dad and what not !!)

Pabba’s icecreams
Gadbad
Tiramisu and Chocolate dad
cutlets

The first beach is the thannirbhavi beach. This beach can be reached directly by road or by a ferry from sultan Battery. The ferry charge is Rs 40 per person (to and fro). It takes around 10-15 minutes by the ferry. You are greeted by the canopy of shore pines and food shacks on the way to the beach. This beach is one of the silent and less crowded beaches of the city. One can either take some fun rides (banana ride, quad bikes) or enjoy the pristine beach and spend some time taking pictures :). You can also try seafood and charmuri from the shacks.

ticket counter for the ferry
Gurupura river
Sultan Battery
Shore pine trees-source: wiki
Charmuri

Return to Sultan battery by the ferry to visit the next beach -Panambur Beach. It is the most popular beach in Mangalore and always crowded. The famous kite festival and the airshows happen here. One can go for parasailing or a horse or camel ride at the beach. If you are a crowd friendly person, this beach is the perfect place to be. The sea is calmer here and it is easier to play in the water.

Panambur beach on a weekend. Source: coastaldigest.com
Kite festival 2016: source: daijiworld.com

The next beach in the beach hopping series is the Sasihithlu Beach. This beach is a bit secluded and a hidden gem. Not many visitors come here. This is the best beach to unwind and let the child in you out. 🙂 . Relax and enjoy the tranquillity of Sasihithlu beach. Although travelling from Mangalore to Sasihithlu, NITK beach comes first, I would suggest visiting the Sasihithlu beach first and then visit the NITK beach for the sunset.

Last but not the least is a visit to the famous NITK beach and the lighthouse. It is situated on the highway NH 66, towards Udupi. It is famous for the Sadashiva temple, the lighthouse, and the beach. The Sadashiva temple has been featured in some movies too. Also one must visit the lighthouse to view the 360-degree panoramic view of the city. The view from the top is breathtaking. The lighthouse closes at 6 PM. So make sure you get your tickets (INR 10) and visit it.

Virgin beach NITK

Ariel view Source: the internet

Watch the mesmerizing sunset on the shore. On the way back, visit the Sadashiva temple and get the blessings of Lord shiva.