Mamallapuram.....say that one 3 times fast
Mamallapuram Travel Blog› entry 21 of 67 › view all entries
Sweet, sweet relief from Chennai! Mamallapuram is tourist haunt about 2 hours south of Chennai. Only 2 hours but what a world of a difference. Chennai is a big city with tons of people and loud, crazy traffic. Mamallapuram is a slow-paced beach town full of friendly people looking to chat all afternoon over some chai.
Mamallapuram’s claim to fame is its long history of superb stone carving that is very much alive today. According to Lonely Planet, the craftsmen of this town are often commissioned to carve sculptures for temples around the world. There are dozens of stone carver workshops lining the streets creating little elephants and turtles for tourist souvenirs as well as large sculptures of Shiva and Vishnu.
- Shore Temple: Nestled close to the Bay of Bengal where my friends and I were enthusiastically greeted by a class of 9th grade girls on a school trip from Uttar Pradesh.
- Arjuna’s Penance: A gorgeous relief carving on the side of a huge boulder depicting many deities, animals and people from Hindu fables.
- Krishna’s Butter Ball: A large rock. I don’t know why it’s called Krishna’s Butter Ball, but it is.
Today I ended my afternoon sitting outside chatting with a clothing shopkeeper and his neighbours, a pair of stone carvers who were polishing piles of marble pendants they had made. They told me that they were part of a shipment that they would be sending to France where a middleman will sell them to various stores.
I’m really happy I came to Mamallapuram. The people here are so warm that I’ve finally managed to feel comfortable walking around the streets in India. I’m wondering if the creepy stares and comments from men happen more frequently in larger cities like Chennai and Calcutta, or if it’s just because Mamallapuram is so full of tourists that the locals are used to seeing foreign women. Maybe it’s just me adjusting to traveling in India and it’s my attitude that’s becoming more relaxed. Or maybe it’s a combination of all three.