If you Google about a vacation destination, what do you generally get? Usually, the search results limit to Restaurants, famous buildings and Clubs. But is that everything that there is? I bet not, there are a lot more unexplored areas which are far more worthy than the famous ones. This article also on similar lines talks about a place called Mahabalipuram. It's a famous holiday destination in Tamil Nadu but not very well known outside. If you search about it on the internet you can find the historical significance of it. It is also famous for its 5-star luxurious resorts. But there is much more in this place than the historical shore temple or the luxurious holiday resorts. This article will take you through my journey from how I first visited the place to how I fell in love with it. I will also mention the not so famous but awesome places in Mahabalipuram which one should visit.
First Time at Mahabalipuram
It all started when I got admission to a B-School in Chennai. I being a typical north Indian guy was not sure of how I would survive my time in Chennai. The apprehensions were more related to weather, language barriers, and food. The day finally came when I had to shift to Chennai for the next 1 year. I landed in Chennai early morning and I had to report to my college at 9:00 AM. The college is situated on the East Coast Road of Chennai which is quite far from the city. It was a 1-hour long journey, I decided to go directly to the college by cab. Also, to mention here that in my entire life I had never been to any beach before. I belong from a town near Chandigarh. The mountains of Himachal/Uttarakhand used to be the obvious holiday destination. Coming back to the journey, the view of the sea along the East coast road was mesmerizing. Early morning before the sunrise was such a beautiful addition to the beauty of the sea. That was the first time I was so close to the sea and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a Love at first sight moment for me.
Finally, college started and B-School is always a high-pressure course. Amidst the intense academics, students started to look for a nice place to hang out and to blow off some steam. Mahabalipuram became the usual hangout place because of its proximity to the college. It's a small historical place famous especially for its Shore temple. When I first visited Mahabalipuram, I was not very impressed as the public beach was quite dirty. But soon after we started exploring the place, the raw beauty of the place stunned me.
Love for the Place
It is more like a hidden gem to me among many other tremendous places in India. I find it even better than Pondicherry. The sheer unexploited raw beauty of the place makes it a place I want to be at. I assume its a much more famous tourist destination now after PM Modi's and Xi Jinping's visit to the place in 2019, . There are so many local eateries around, few even run by foreigners themselves. The food you find there is super authentic and so rich in taste. I had my life's best pizza and masala French fries at a small eatery called Wallahalah.
I also can't forget the delicious butter garlic sauce which they serve along with the food. Alongside the beach, you can find many small shacks serving some delicious seafood. You can enjoy the food along with a mesmerizing view of the sea. My favourite place there is a small shack named Bob Marley, it is famous for its top floor view of the sea. I know, Curley's in Goa has a beautiful view but trust me nothing is better than Bob Marley's. Many a time I used to hang out alone there to enjoy the serenity of the sea. I cannot forget the peace and fulfilment I used to get there for the rest of my entire life.
One can also find many private beach resorts there. These private beaches are very clean and less crowded but pretty expensive though. I remember staying at one for a night and it was an experience of a lifetime.
At last, the people there are also very friendly and supportive. I was there for almost a year and I don't remember facing any major difficulties there. It all works out if you respect their local culture.
Who shall Visit
It is not a hardcore party place like Goa or Pondicherry but that's exactly why it stand's out for me. I like this place for its rawness which is missing in all major tourist destinations for that matter. It's hard to explain in words, you have to visit and experience the magic yourself to understand what I am trying to say.
For people looking to get out of city life for a vacation at a calm and relaxing place, I would recommend Mahabalipuram. You will find yourself so close to Nature like no other place in India.
As far as my liking goes, I can relate myself to a very famous quote by Jimmy Buffet
If there is a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached
— Jimmy Buffett
I miss sitting on the top floor of Bob Marley's and enjoying the serenity. I would urge everyone to visit Mahabalipuram at least once to experience this beautiful place. I am sure you will also fall in love with it like me.
Do share in comments your experience and what you liked or didn't like about the place.