Our first day in India

Mamallapuram Travel Blog

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A colourful fruit stall (Mamallapuram, India)

Ajit, who had found us before we had found him, drives to the coastal place Mamallapuram in little over two hours, The bus is worn with age and ramshackle. Since air conditioning of any sort is non existent, everybody pried the small windows open, and now there’s a storm in the bus, delivering a never ending  selection of vague scents.

Since we both want to keep our eyes open, Rens and I keep nudging each other, pointing at everything that may count as a first impression. Or a second. Or a third. We see disorderly streets where sidewalks are no more than a suggestion of loose and lopsided parts of concrete. Despite the very early hour it’s busy everywhere we look. Men wear slacks and shirts, women wear traditional sari’s in bright colours. There are small shops, ruins of corrugated iron en ill fitting concrete.

The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamallapuram, India)
  All the hustle and bustle is overwhelming.

It’s almost seven in the morning when we arrive at a modest hotel. A whole herd of staff awaits us, but we can only think of one thing: a few more hours of sleep.

 

It’s 11:30 when we are woken up by our alarm clock and we both feel as if we are reborn. That doesn’t mean we have to run all over the place in a hysteric pace though. We decide to take it easy today. We stroll to an ATM machine to get some rupees, after that we wander to Moonrakers, a nice place where we kick back while we eat and drink. We take our time to adjust to our new surroundings and to soak up to atmosphere.

The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamallapuram, India)

After our elaborate brunch we move on to the Shore Temple.  This temple dates from the year 700 and is built on a beach, facing the Bay of Bengal. The rock carvings of the temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, are very attractive. Every inch of every wall and corner has been carved beautifully and we enjoy walking around there, in the sea breeze.

When we leave the temple area, we are being ambushed by dozens of salesmen. They all think we should buy chess games and necklaces, and even though they are not as persistent as salesmen in the Middle East, the fact that there are so many of them is a bit too much.   

We think we’ve done enough for today, so we stroll back and settle down at The Blue Elephant, which is across from Moonrakers.

The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamallapuram, India)
I’ve read the owners of both establishments are brothers, but the chairs at The Blue Elephant are more fluffy.

Rens gets a Kingfisher beer that’s barely cold and the waiter pours it in an aluminum cup. The bottle with the rest of the beer is put on the floor, next to the table. We think it’s a bit weird, but whatever.

We’re seated under a covering with fans and watch people walk by. Then a young girl pops up. She’s about eight years old and both her arms are covered with necklaces. She speaks English, is smart and adorable and she sells me necklaces I know I’ll never wear. But it doesn’t matter.

 That evening we have dinner with the entire group at the rooftop terrace of our hotel.

The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamallapuram, India)
Drinks aren’t exactly cold, but the food is fantastic and we are lucky to be seated next to enjoyable people. When everybody has just finished eating, out of nowhere, a colourful rocket explodes in  the black sky. And another one, and another one. The restaurant staff tells us there’s a wedding going on, which often comes with a small parade and that we can watch if we want to. As soon as the words are uttered, we are on our way down and end up in the middle of a small group of musicians with interesting flutes. They are followed by men who carry sticks with bright symbols. Behind them is a car that’s covered in flowers in which the newlyweds are seated. The parade ends with the family, who all look at their best.

Every few meters they stop and light more fireworks and they all seem thrilled that were watching and taking pictures. They pose for us and mother’s show us their dolled up children.  What a fabulous day to start our trip in India with!

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A colourful fruit stall (Mamallapu…
A colourful fruit stall (Mamallap…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamal…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mama…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamal…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mama…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamal…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mama…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mamal…
The beautiful Shore Temple ((Mama…
Girl selling necklaces (Mamallapur…
Girl selling necklaces (Mamallapu…
How can you say no to this face?! …
How can you say no to this face?!…
Me at the Blue Elephant Restaurant…
Me at the Blue Elephant Restauran…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
A wedding parade outside the Hotel…
A wedding parade outside the Hote…
Mamallapuram Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
comfortable and allowing extensive idleness
Located across the street from Moonrakers, The Blue Elephant is a bit more a relaxing place (but this may also be the just the time of day you come in… read entire review
Mamallapuram Sights & Attractions review
One of the oldest structural temples of Southern India
This small, but romantic Shore Temple faces the Bay of Bengal, but is enclosed by a fence. The temple has been weathered by sea and wind, but that… read entire review
Mamallapuram Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
A bit chaotic, but charming
Moonrakers, located at Othavadai Street, is very atmospheric, but also a bit chaotic (especially if you just arrived in India), but I guess that’s p… read entire review
Mamallapuram
photo by: gert-n-bert