I opened my road trip account for 2023 with a long weekend road trip to Mahabalipuram. Although Google map time estimate for this road trip from Bangalore (Whitefield) is around 5 hours 30 minutes but in reality, it tends to take more time. In this post, I’ll share my experience of this weekend vacation to a place which I believe is surely underrated.
You can read about my other road trips here
We started from Whitefield (Guddu & I) and took the NH75 route. As usual, we started early around 5:30 am in a hope to be greeted by relatively empty roads. Thankfully, it worked for us and the road condition is pretty good which made for a smooth ride. The downside is that there are not many decent eating joints on the way. Following a long wait, we finally took a pit-stop at Kalaa Grand. This place has plenty of parking, open air seating and food taste was decent.
Alas, the drive post Kala Grand was a not a leisure drive. We switched multiple roads as per google maps route. This passed through to single lane roads with heavy traffic. A large stretch of this route passed through towns. tI tooks around 3.5 hours to cover around 150Kms. Finally, we reached our resort around lunch time.
Things to do In Mahabalipuram
Usually, Mahabalipuram is considered a day trip or one night stay. We had 2 nights planned in this place and in hindsight, I feel that it was a good decision. First evening, after a good south indian thali meal and a good nap, we took a stroll from the resort to the Shore Temple. Unfortunately, the temple was closed by the time we reached (6pm closing time). So we explored the beach area to the left of the shore temple. Now this is important because the right side beach area is:
1) very crowded
2) absolutely commercial with hawkers aplenty and
3) hardly much beach area with water pretty near to the temple boundary.
The area on the left is the beach behind East Cost Road, which hosts most of the good properties.
We parked ourselves in one of the small cafe overlooking the sea. This cafe is named Flip Flop and we strongly recommend it. We joyfully immersed ourselves in the breezy evening. The place wasn’t crowded, delicious food and catchy music made it an evening to remember. After a short walk (20 mins) back to the resort, we called it a day.
Tourist Spots in Mahabalipuram
Next moring, around 7:30 am, we set out to cover the circuit of popular tourist spots. It turned out to be a blessing as we were able to take uninterrupted pictures without any wait time. Around 9 am, the crowed had swelled and it seemed impossible to witness these historical places without a rush or interruption. Hence, we could easily cover most of the places in under 2 hours. We were pretty much ok with missing a few spots. Interestingly, what stood out for me was the free audio guides available at each spot. This helped us to understand history of each monument and site.
Post the morning tourney, we changed our resort. Due to delayed planning, we coudn’t get 2 nights at the same resort. In retrospect, this worked out great as our next property, on the east cost road was a beach location just 50 meters away from the boundary wall of the property. It was a perfect setting for us to spend a leisure evening. Surprisingly, I felt cold in Mahabalipuram! Now, that’s something I couldn’t have imagined. The refrershing and chilly persistent breeze from the sea was amazing.
Overall, it was a quiet and serene outing. I kept wondering why this place didn’t have many takers? The beach is great, properties are superb, food is decent and it is budget friendly as well. I came back with a thought of travelling there again. Hopefully, next time this journey takes lesser time than it does now. Cheers, Happy Travelling!
Recommended Places for eating:
- Flip Flop Cafe
- Sri Ananda Bhavan
- Pizza Mechanics
- Bodhiwood Resorts
- Mamalla Heritage Resorts