MAHABALIPURAM TRAVEL GUIDE: Facts About The Town
Mahabalipuram has a tropical climate. Expect the weather to be hot and humid since Mahabalipuram occupies a sliver of land that is on the East coast of India. May is hottest season in the year (32oC) and January is the coldest (24oC). It also receives 1219 mm of rainfall every year so be prepared in case you reach there in the monsoons. The best time to visit this town is said to be between October and March.
The currency used in Mahabalipuram is the Indian rupee (INR). Being an Indian I did not have a problem with the currency. I did see only one money exchange shop in the city so I think it would be better to get your currency exchanged at a bigger city. That being said many places accept a credit card but a number of them ask for cash so it is wise to be prepared.
You can except to get both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in Mahabalipuram. Most of the food is cheap enough. Seafood tends to be the most expensive thing on the menu. A lot of the restaurants and cafes specialize in breakfast items. Of all the places that we visited, Namaste and Babu’s café were my favorites.
GETTING TO MAHABALIPURAM
For us Mahabalipuram was a stop on a short road trip out of Bangalore but if you are heading here without your own vehicle then you should know that the town does not have an airport. The closest main hub is Chennai so if you want to fly anywhere you need to fly there. The city is located at the south of Chennai (58 kilometers south) which makes getting there easy enough. The cheapest way is to get on one of the local buses in Chennai. Since it is only 58 kilometers, the journey won’t be that long. Bangalore is a lot further away but when I was doing my research I noticed that there were a couple of buses that leave from this city too.
TRANSPORT IN MAHABALIPURAM
We found that we could walk to most places in Mahabalipuram. This was largely because we were staying in the heart of the city and very close to the coast. Auto rickshaws are also available but I am not really sure about the prices. Renting a motorbike is another option. My choice however would be to rent a bicycle and cycle through the town.
Accommodation is cheap in Mahabalipuram. Then again it depends on what you are looking for. Shawn and I found ourselves a room at Rajalakshmi Guest house for 600/- ($9) a day. It was a small room with a fan and an attached bathroom but it did the job well and we were happy especially because of its location. There is a common area with hammocks that you can rest in and network with people. If not sitting in the attached balcony of your room and looking at the potted plants is also very relaxing.
MAHABALIPURAM TRAVEL GUIDE: Places to visit in Mahabalipuram
Like I mentioned before, there are a lot of places to visit in Mahabalipuram. A number of the archaeological sites are even UNESCO heritage sites. One thing that I loved the most about the little town was the way the monuments were cared for. There was no litter and trash in most places so I’m assuming that there are people who actually move around making sure that the monuments are kept clean.
MAHABALIPURAM TRAVEL GUIDE: Accessories you should carry
No travel guide is complete without advice of the accessories that you should carry. Mahabalipuram is a simple town but you do get most of the basic things required during travel. A few things that you should consider taking along however are:
When traveling through the tropical parts of India you are bound to find mosquitoes especially when it rains. With the number of mosquito borne diseases becoming more and more rampant, you will find that prevention is better than cure. Most of the accommodations that you book will provide you some form of mosquito repellent when you are in the room. It is when you are outside that the problems begin to start.
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You never know when the skies are going to open and shower you with their blessings. That being said you don’t want to be trapped in the rain while heading to the different places to visit in Mahabalipuram. I always find that a raincoat or a jacket is a good and practical shield to carry along.
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The rain maybe one part of your worries but make sure that you don’t forget about the heat of the sun. Sunburn is particularly easy if you aren’t used to the hot temperatures that India is bound to throw your way. That is the reason why sunscreen is always a good idea.
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A GOOD CAMERA
A good camera is important wherever you travel to. Mahabalipuram also has a number of different activities to offer like surfing. While I was quite happy with my DSLR, I can’t help wonder whether a GoPro would be more practical especially where the weight is concerned.
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MAHABALIPURAM TRAVEL GUIDE: Experiences You Should Not Miss
We strongly believe that every place that you travel to has something to offer. Something that is best suited to you. Travel is enriched by the experiences that other cultures offer us but we need to be open to learning about them and understanding them. Here are our top picks of the experiences you should consider trying in Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram is a quiet laid back place in South India. It has the best of both worlds: the old and the new. One thing that stands out is that all the places to visit in Mahabalipuram are well maintained and kept relatively clean. The people are genuinely friendly and you will find that most of them speak English so language shouldn’t be much of a barrier either. If you are ever in Tamil Nadu, do not skip this gem off a place.
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