Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Mid-Week Trip - Stone Love


The Tiger Cave
Fancy a bit of culture? This time I'm taking you to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. These are part of the long-lost photos I rediscovered the other day (see Pondicherry HERE).



Littered with stone carvings, friezes and sanctuaries, Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO world heritage site and dates back to the 1st Century AD. 



The carvings were created by craftsmen brought to the area by the rulers of the Pallava Dynasty of South India in the 7th Century.


The area then became an open air school for carvers to perfect and showcase their art.

Krishna's Butter Ball 
 Even today the predominant noise is of chisel on stone from dawn until dusk (murder if you've got a hangover). 
The Tiger Cave
You can spend days wandering around here, admiring the craftsmanship and picnicking under the stones, shooing off greedy goats and hawkers flogging tat.

Mahabalipuram Temple
And once you've had your fill there's some fantastic restaurants and amazing roadside stalls crammed with trinkets, silk dresses from nearby Kanchipuram, hand-made leather chappals and tribal jewellery.


The Shore Temple dates back to the 7th Century. It has been known to sailors since the days of Marco Polo.


 The beach is gorgeous and virtually deserted. Most tourists check into the swanky five star hotels set discretely behind, preferring to sit on sunbeds around a swimming pool - crazy fools.

Approach to the Shore Temple
A free dance festival is held in village centre in January every year. 

Pancha Rathas
Mahabalipuram is well and truly on the tourist trail but time your sightseeing carefully and you won't be bothered too much.


For weeks we sat on the beach and watched the sun rise, listening to the chanting and smelling the incense wafting from the temple next to the beach.

 Five Rathas
Followed by idli sambar in the bhavan (cafe) by the bus station.



Before rocking out.



We'd sit, chat and share a masala chai with the stone carvers before heading to the beach for a few hours of sunbathing and swimming.

Arjuna's Penance
Then we'd return to our room for a shower, a cold beer and to contemplate our plans for later.




Here's where we stayed, Tina Blue View, a family run guest house right next to the beach. At less than £3.50 for the night it's deservedly popular and nearly always full.


Still with me? Hope you enjoyed getting stoned in Tamil Nadu.

See you soon.

60 comments:

  1. Woah! I would not be posing for a picture under that large rock! On a slope!
    What an amazing looking place. The beach looks heavenly. xxx

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  3. It looks really interesting and exciting x

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  4. Fascinating and awe inspiring! That to me seems an unimaginable amount of work that must have gone into that all that stone carving, earth and stone moving. Truly awesome. That huge egg-shaped boulder (I hope it's not a giant dinosaur egg) does look awfully precarious there. Just the thought of all that stone chiseling makes my joints ache. The food sounds delicious. "Rocking out" :) Love the pun. You rocked a lovely blue floral maxi in front of all that rock. That beach looks beautiful and very inviting.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  5. Places like this really are awesome. (that word is usually used so inappropriately and far too often...rant rant) The stone masonry is amazing in itself but staggering that they managed to accomplish this level of craftmanship without any mechanical aids whatsoever. The beaches look idyllic and I bet the local dishes weren't bad either? Xx

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  6. I enjoyed it very much, what an amazing place to visit, The craft man ship is amazing, sounds heavenly the beach, everything, except the hawkers, gosh I would hate that,

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  7. Looks like a magical place, and £3.50 a night for a room how fab xxx

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  8. What beautiful sites and sights, Vix. The way you describe your days there sounds like heaven to me. The guest house at 3.50/night is the best!

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  9. I loved this journey you took us on! The butterball rock looks like it could tumble at any minute! I'm closing my eyes and dreaming of laying of the beach and smelling incense, so peaceful. You are still just as beautiful back then now you are just more decorated:) You always make India sound enticing.
    Can't wait to speak soon
    LOVE YOU!
    XXOOO

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  10. Oooh been there! And loved it. I'll have to dig out my long lost photos one day. xx

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  11. So fun to dig into old photos. These are beauties. But what I really love is seeing your gorgeous holiday wardrobe. No baggy tee shirts and sneakers for our Vix!!

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  12. Just when I think i've decided which part of your Indian footsteps i'd like to follow in, you throw something new into the mix. I'm not complaining, I love it all. Such a beautiful and peaceful looking place. That accommodation near to the beach looks perfect, yep, you've convinced me. Xxxx

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  13. ahhhh beautiful!
    have to show this hubby - he really loves india - maybe one day we go to india again....
    xxxx

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  14. This is completely enchanting, Vix! I want to be there. Like right now. :)

    I love the green outfit on you very much, and the long sundress is so beautiful and relaxed for a sunny day!

    You always give such great tips on traveling too. I don't know whether we will go to India any time soon, but I will sure re-read your India posts when we decide to go. :)

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  15. I love your travel posts. It makes me wish I were there but it also makes me feel a little bit like I really am there. I love the photos and the way you write about them. Thanks so much for sharing, Vix!
    xo

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  16. How amazing, what a great piece of history. That butter ball would scare the life out of me though haha.
    V
    xxx

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  17. Quite fascinating to see such old world heritage .
    I enjoyed every bit of viewing it.
    Oh my cholesterol would bust with a butterball that big !

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  18. I am seriously thinking of spending my 50th birthday (in 2016) in India. Your posts make it all the more enticing.

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  19. ahhh....gorgeous....never been there but have spent a bit if time in Hampi....rock city ........living in a cave with a sadhu the first time then fast forward 20 years to living up at the Mango Tree!!x

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  20. I always love your posts about india!! You really need to write a book!!!

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  21. What a brilliant place - yes please, I'd get stoned there with you any day, darling! I do love seeing your photos; the carvings are extraordinary, the beach is so beautiful, and you always write about India with such love, passion and knowledge. I wanna go! xxxxx

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  22. are you sure you're not the spokesperson for Travel To India? You should be.

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  23. What a beautiful and fascinating place, and I thought the stones at Avebury and Stonehenge were impressive! Thank goodness you found the photos too.

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  24. That was an interesting and special place you took us to today, I like the look of the guest house and right by the beach for that price is unbelievable! Looking forward to the next installment. Betty

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  25. I love seeing your photos of your trips. I want to go there too.

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  26. Oh, yeah! (You should get at least a little compensation for promoting such intriguing travel & vacation spots.)

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  27. What a great place. It's hard to get your head around how old it is. So interesting and beautiful.

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  28. I love these beautiful photos, such a nice escape. Thank for sharing.

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  29. Just when I needed taking out from myself ... Thank you so much for sharing these. What a beautiful place - incense on xxx

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  30. I did enjoy it ... thank you very much
    xx

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  31. What a breathtaking place! I was stunned by it, the Butterball rock and the 2nd pic of the huge angular rock made my brain melt, how are they upright!? the carvings are incredible, I've loved it all! and especially love the pile up and perish notice, blooming brilliant x x x

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  32. Love your posts about India. So peaceful and calm, like being on a little holiday just reading along. :)

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  33. Just when I was thinking and dreaming of India , there you serve us a very tasty Indian post , thank you Vix !
    The (historical)culture , the landscapes ~ wow , look at that beach ! ~ the pretty (and cheap) hotels , mmmmm ...
    Rocking picture with the blue floral dress !

    ~ Incense greetings ~

    La Dryada

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  34. Thank you for the day trip to Tamil Nadu Vix, I love the sign in the final pic and the guest house is so sweet. The rock carvings look hundreds of years old, which I'm sure some are, but isn't it wonderful that they're still evolving? xoxox

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  35. Thank you for this perfectly lovely tour, so many wonderful sights and I love the look of your quaint little guest house xx

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  36. Oooh cheers for that. What a fantastic place. How lovely is the eguest house? And I think we should introduce that sign over here. Brilliant. xxxxx

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  37. Lovely photos, sounds like you had a swell time in India. Those carvings are awesome Vix! Thanks for sharing

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  38. Please parcel me up and send me home one of those magnificent stone elephants next time you are there. Thanks.

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  39. What a gr8 place to visit, thanks Vix!

    X

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  40. Wow! Loved seeing this.

    To be totally honest I've never wanted to visit India, but with your photos and trips you may be swaying me : )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  41. Thanks for yet another interesting photo-journey to India. The place looks charming and all those carved stone sculpture are really impressive

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  42. ahhh, I needed that. So warm and old and exquisitely beautiful. No I wasn't talking about you, but I guess you and India could be described in the same breath with no offense taken at all. Thanks for the trip, Vix.

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  43. What a cool place - the stone carvings are wonderful and it's great that people are still adding carvings to what are already there. I would love to stay at Tina Blue View! Thanks for another enjoyable virtual tour of one of your favourite places in India.

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  44. I've been around there back in the 90s , me and my Dutch boyfriend. Crazy days and I trully love India.I wait for more posts. I'm sure you will not disappoint us.

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  45. I always love checking out your holiday pics. How huge are those rocks! Enormous and a bit scary I imagine if you are underneath. The carved temples are amazing. XXX

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  46. Ah thank you for these pictures, i am going back later this year, any plans for India specifically Tamilnadu & Gujarat around Aug? x

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  47. What a beautiful place! You know what I love about traveling, the fact you can see thing created in such ancient times. It always blows my mind, I guess because I'm from such a young country. I think the beach is beautiful - but you know I think our beaches in nz are beautiful. But show me something humans made pre the 1800s and my mind is blown. Incredible place!

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  48. Wow, what an amazing place. I'm always amazed things like this can be carved with out any machinery, just pure skill and patience.
    Petra at Jordan is my ultimate dream to visit. I mean how can a whole city be carved out of rock like that?
    Thanks for sharing this one, the whole holiday sounded idyllic!

    Gems x
    Fashion, Well Done

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  49. Amazing spot, absolutely inspiring! :D Thanks for sharing the shots, can't wait to travel more again!

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  50. Whew, I needed that little vacation! It's been a long day. I LOVE learning about new places, and you are a wonderful tour guide. I have to go on a map and see just where that is in the grand scheme of things.

    You look gorgeous and right at home. XXXOOO

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  51. what a lovely little trip! Thanks for the virtual vacation!

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  52. Always enjoy going on a trip with you via your fabulous photos. Thanks!

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  53. What a fantastic place!!!
    <3

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  54. Fab photos! What an amazing place! Those temple carvings are wonderful!

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  55. Fecking awesome pix!
    I reckon you kids would love a crazy place in Nong Khai, Thailand....I must sniff out some pix...
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx