SunSet @ Chengalpattu
This is a long pending post, delayed by working weekends and late nights. I guess in these though times, one must be grateful to have work and even loads of it.
We had made an impromptu decision to go to Chennai to visit some friends, and we decided to drive the distance. The road was simply splendid. We left at around 6pm and were in Chennai by 12:30am given stops for Dinner, coffee and stretching limbs.
Were to eat: A2B near Krishnagiri. Has clean toilets too.
Link to the Road info:
http://www.sln.in/blrchn.php ( We really liked this excellent compilation of routes )
At Chennai we saw Elliot Beach and Marina Beach. Both were thoroughly enjoyable. For the first time, I was photographing things that didn't fly away and didn't fidget. It is certainly a luxury to get a chance to think about how to frame an image, having all the time in the world, to try various exposures, frames, to even experiment with black and white ( some thing I did often, for the very first time )
It was also the first time I took photos of human subjects.
We had a great time, I must particularly mention that the people were wonderfully friendly. We stopped and asked for directions often, and people always helped out, even though we couldn't speak the local lingo. We managed easily with hindi and english.
Having come this far, we thought it best to see Mahabalipuram as well. We took the scenic ECR ( East Coast Road ), stopping at little beaches along the way. Our first stop was Tiger Cave, which is just a few km before Mahabalipuram ( recommended by Outlook traveler )
Tiger Cave Rock
Once in Mahabs (I believe that's the hep way to say it) of course, our enthusiasm quickly dried up. We had chosen the worst day and time to visit. Sunday evening. Mahabs was packed to capacity. Roads are incredibility narrow and parking is scarce.
There are 3 major places to see there : Shore Temple, Arjuna's Penance, 5 Rathas.
We could manage only the first 2 ( these are located within walking distance of each other ).
ShoreTemple and Nandis
Link to Arch. Survey of India : http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_whs_mahabalipuram.asp
This link below is extremely useful, it has the satellite map and photos of the monuments that can be found at the various points. It also has panorama shots.
Link to map: http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/south-asia/india/mahabalipuram/map.html
IMP NOTE: Tripods are prohibited in any site of the Archeological Survey of India. People are however allowed to carry food, toys, sporting equipment. Yes, littering is also tolerated.
I was sorry to see that these beautiful monuments were so poorly managed. No where could we find any board with any information on the monuments. We were able to buy a small guidebook at the ticket counter.
About the Gandhi's Monkey shot: The three teenage boys were leching and passing comments, so I thought I'd turn the tables and photograph them!
Souvenirs: We looked for a govt approved handicraft shop and found 2 - one empty and the other closed on Sundays.
On our way back to Bangalore, we stopped at Adyar's just outside Mahabalipuram. It was pure heaven. They have beautiful quiet gardens, were we sipped delightful coffee and had some snacks. We stopped again at Chengalpattu to see a breathtaking sunset.
We'll definitely be making another trip and this time, I think this time, we'll make sure we're there on a weekday at dawn. :)