As John Muir, environmental philosopher puts it “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. The Mahabalipuram trail organized by the Chariot beach resorts offers you a 4 kms long trail that wakes you up to the rising sun, makes you walk on soft sand then takes you on a path of Mythology and history. It is a unique combination of experiences that only the Chariot beach resort can offer for one it is conveniently located from the Shore Temple so much so that we walked on sand with rising sun kissing us to reach temple with the sea flowing by. It was this choice of route, by the beach that made the Mahabalipuram trail all more memorable.
Mahabalipuram Trail At The Break Of Dawn
The trail starts at the crack of the dawn, the brilliance of the sun in the deep background of red sky the sound of the waves breaking on the shore wakes you up on a high note.
As you limber up for the walk you are offered hot cup of chai. A man with a crisp white shirt approaches us and introduces as guide nominated for the tour by the Chariot beach resort.
By now the sun is over the horizon and we can see the shore temple at a distance. With no physical or visual obstruction in between the resort and shore temple, the much awaited Mahabalipuram trail looks promising. We embark on our journey and within 100mtrs of walk the sayings of John Muir began to come alive. We witnessed couple of boys practising acrobatics. Using the cushion of soft sand it was heartening to see the talents of local lads.
As we move ahead we see the light house, the guide gives us some interesting information. The sun is now above the horizon and the beach is alive with daily walkers and groups of boys playing Kho-Kho (India`s traditional game best played in sand). This is a great place to interact with locals but only if you can speak Tamil.
The beach offers a plethora of activities and one of it is horse riding and if you are the adventurist type you can take your horse on a gallop and recreate the famous scene from the movie.
The Shore Temple
Finally we reach the shore temple and the view was majestic. In the backdrop of sea and lush green ground the monument was perfectly located. The guide ushers us under a tree then began our journey into the history of Mahabalipuram. In 30 minutes the guide very eloquently narrates the might of Pallava King while talking us around the temple. By now it is 07:45 AM but all the shops in the market have opened and the place is buzzing with activities.
In the market we are offered local cup of coffee, rejuvenated we start with the second half of trail to Arjunas Penance followed by the Light house and finally back to the resort.
This part of trail was absolutely fantastic with every step you are take you move the clock back into the ancient time. Arjunas Penance is a UNESCO world heritage site and the adjacent to it are Panch Pandava Mandapa, Unfinised Caves, Krishna’s Butter wall and many more.
The next stop is light house and once you ascend to reach the top the view is
, the look of open sea, the coconut tree groves and the entire view of monuments, you instantly thank everyone who assisted you for this journey.
From here we start our return journey with the last stop at Five Rathas located next to resort. The Pancha Rathas is an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture. Dating from the late 7th century, it is attributed to the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I (630–680 AD; also called Mamalla, or “great warrior”) of the Pallava Kingdom.
The Monuments are fantastic and the intricate art work is admirable. You get completely engrossed in the mythological ventures of Pandavas.
This brings us to the end of trail. It was an awesome experience especially for a camera enthusiast like me. The subjects available for takings pictures were so wide ranged that it could satisfy your visual instincts in you. It took about 3 Hours but each minute was well spent.
The trail was followed by sumptuous breakfast of authentic South Indian – dosa, idli and filter coffee -What better can one ask for to begin a perfect day?