Two weeks ago, with a long weekend, I went for a long drive with the route Bangalore-Chennai-Mahabalipuram. From Bangalore to Chennai, it was a 350km drive.

bangalore-chennai road

I started at 6 in the morning, and with the great help of GPS and 3G, I did not waste time asking directions. With two stop overs for some snacks, I reached Chennai at 2pm. Originally, I planned of going first to Mahaballipuram but before leaving, I thought of spending a night in Chennai and drive to Mahaballipuram on the next day, fearing of not getting a hotel to stay in Mahaballipuram since it would be my first time to visit. I also didn’t book for a hotel thinking that I would easily find a hotel in Chennai.

chennai city, india marina beach, chennai

Chennai and Marina Beach

So, when I reached Chennai, I went directly to Marina Beach, the longest and widest beach in Asia (I think). It was scorching hot. I sat nearby the water and using Google Map, started to search for the nearby hotel. I called several hotels and inquired for available room. After an hour, I left Marina Beach and went on to find a place to stay. Searching for one of the hotels I called was not easy, specially with the small road in the inner town of Chennai and heavy traffic, I wasted almost 2 hours just searching for that hotel, and when I finally found it, it was too shabby at the outside that I decided not to go inside at all. I recalled of several hotels along the way, so I went to one of them, the Hotel Himalaya. Hotel Himalaya is just a decent hotel if you need one. By the way, hotel rates in Chennai are quite expensive ranging from Rs.1300 up.

hotel himalaya chennai

After freshening up, I decided not to go out for lunch, instead just eat whatever food is left. I took a nap and woke up at 5pm. I went to the famous place in Chennai for aquariums and fishes. Since it was quite late and got stuck in the traffic too, only few aquarium shops were open that I left the place without buying anything. I think I wasted my time going there.

I went back to Marina beach and had dinner there. I stayed at the beach till the guards were rounding up. I went back to the hotel and slept.

chennai-mahaballipuram road east coast road, tamil nadu

East Coast Road, Chennai – Mahaballipuram

I left Hotel Himalaya and Chennai after breakfast for Mahabalipuram. It was during this trip that I blame myself for stopping by in Chennai. Roads to Mahabalipuram from Chennai is fantastic. All through out, I took ECR, though with toll fee, it was a superb road.

Once I reached ECR, I started to search for a good place to stay. Luckily, I found an affordable beach resort along ECR, it’s Joe Beach. They were able to squeezed me in in their booking since it was holiday and they are fully booked. As soon as I checked in, I freshen up and readied myself for a drive to Mahabalipuram.

tiger's cave, mahabalipuram hotel shatriyas

Tiger’s Cave at Mahaballipuram ; Shatriya’s Restaurant

Before going to the inner town, I thought of checking out Tiger’s Cave and took some pictures and rested a bit. After an hour, I left the place and headed towards to the town. I took my lunch at Shatriya’s, which is just after entering Mahabalipuram town. I feasted on chicken biryani and prawn fry. While leaving the restaurant, I overheard two foreigners asking for beers after the waiter had given them the choices of drinks. But of course, alcoholic drinks are not allowed, so to my mind, I quipped, “Welcome to India!” LOL

shore temple, mahabalipuram

Shore Temple, Mahaballipuram 

After entering the town, I first visited the Shore temple. As usual, it was so crowded that it took me 15 minutes to park my car.  Shore temple is amazing. The architecture and the scenery is beyond compare. The temple is just nearby the beach. I took some pictures and updated my Facebook status and headed out of the place.

Next place I visited was the Pancha Pandava Rathas or Five Ratha’s . Just like the Shore Temple, it was crowded. It was getting dark and I was quite tired too. There were still some places to visit in my list and I aimed of visiting them in that day. I went to Krishna’s Butter Ball and Anjuna’s Penance , I didn’t get out of my car but just took photos of them from the outside. I left Mahabalipuram after that. I directly went to Crocodile Farm on the ECR. I was in a hurry that it might be closed but there’s not much to see that I was able to finish my sightseeing in 15 minutes.


I went back to Mahaballipuram town and bought some fruits. It was already past 6. I planned to just order my dinner from the hotel. When I reached the hotel it was already dark. I freshen up and headed to the beach. The gate was locked already so I just sat nearby the shore. After few minutes I went to the kitchen and ordered dinner but I was quite late. The only possible food that I could have was chappati and curry. So I settled for it and had some fruits. After dinner, I went back to the shore, there were some other guests who were just sitting there and watching the moon and relaxing to the sound of waves. After awhile, the hotel manager came and opened the gate. The guests and I went out to the beach and sat on the sands for some time until everyone decided to call it a night.

I planned of waking up early morning to take a dip in the sea but when I got up at 7am, it was already so hot that I decided to go back to bed. I checked out at 10:30am and headed back home.

From Mahaballipuram, I stopped at Kanchipuram for lunch. Kanchipuram is known for Kanjeevaram saris. I inquired some shops for my mom’s but aside from having no knowledge of what sari to buy, they’re also just damned expensive.

After leaving Kanchipuram, I headed to Vellore for the SriPuram Golden Temple. Just several kilometers from the temple, the traffic was so heavy that I spent an hour just to reach the temple from the main town of Vellore. After reaching the temple, I was disappointed and decided not to enter.


One of the Toll plazas along the highway

I headed back to Bangalore and reached my place at 8pm. I can say that it was a trip worth taking for my first long drive since my visit to Pondicherry a year ago. Next stop? Maybe Goa…


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5 Comments on Bangalore-Chennai-Mahabalipuram Trip

  1. Nice detailed travelogue on your trip to Chennai, unfortunate that you could not see golden temple.

  2. SFB says:

    Hi, I found your blog and read a couple of the posts here. I’ve to say that your blog post are very informative. Your blog have benefited me in many ways and I want to say thank you! I will be coming back often.

  3. Richard says:

    Excellent post giving me a new insight to chennai.

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