Mahabalipuram (a.k.a. Mamallapuram, further a.k.a Mal) is a treasure coast of UNESCO sites accompanied by mellow hippie beach hangout.
Tonight The Rapid Traveler was inspired by Sara Mathew, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, in her call to ‘Dare to Lead,’ in a conversation sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI). CASI claims to the first, and still only, academic research center in the US for the study of contemporary India, which is a sad indicator of the low global engagement by US higher education.
The Rapid Travel Chai #2 tip for India is to use the government-run prepay taxis from the airports. It is #2 because the #1 tip is to not leave the airport before booking, because once out you cannot reenter to get the prepay taxis and are then at the mercy of swarming touts.
A half-day layover at Chennai (MAA) is just enough for the 1-2 hour dash (if avoiding rush hours) down the coast to Mal, a 7th-century port city of the Pallava Dynasty. Book the prepay taxi for the roundtrip and waiting time. Those with more time and on a tighter budget can take bus 108B.
For those with time, the area can easily occupy a few days.
And on the road back from Chennai, don’t forget to stop for the comic crocs, more on that tomorrow!