Sunday, March 18

Today we took a trip south of Chennai to Mahabalipuram, a town with another World Heritage site, this being a set of stone temple-like structures that are some 1300 years old.

This area of India was affected by the Tsunami of 2005, this area in particular.  The water came roughly up to the road we're driving on.

This is the first interesting carved building there, carved out of a single piece of granite.

This huge boulder is not a separate rock that is sitting here - it's actually part of  the granite slope underneath it.  Because it's not going to roll, people feel no worry lying under it for shade, and goats gambol around underneath it.

Here's Bob talking with our friend TL about the temple.

It's an amazing piece of carving. I'll post a video about it when I get time.

Here's another fascinating piece of carving - this is reportedly the world's largest bas-relief carving.  Part of it is unfinished, as you can see in the bottom left.

The elephant family. Right in front of the elephant's trunk is a cat-person.

In the enormous granite temple are many images of daily life, including this of a man milking a cow, and that cow licking her calf.  Aw....

This was another fascinating piece of carving - these buildings were carved out of a single outcropping of granite, where they stand today.  The remainder of the leftover from the carving was taken away.  It's not a holy site, it is actually an example of various styles of buildings, and they are based on wood structures that existed in the area at the time.

We next went about a mile to another interesting temple on the shore, called the Shore Temple.  This is not a monolithic building, it was rather carved out of blocks that were stacked into a standard building.

View of the fishermen adjoining the Stone Temple location.

Much of the temple is weather-worn, and the sheep on the right have lost much of their features.

Back to the hotel - in Chennai we stayed at Fisherman's Cove, a TAJ resort hotel about an hour from the airport.  A beautiful place, right on the water.

When I stayed here in 2005 we had our own individual cottages on the water, as seen below.  Unfortunately this time the hotel was full so we were in the main hotel instead.

The view was still really nice.

Sunset over their garden.

We had dinner at an on-site Thai restaurant where some of the tables had their own tent.  The food was outstanding.

Tomorrow it's back to work!