Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 25 - Chennai to Mahabalipuram, 35 kms

Our morning began with some very awesome police women joining us on cycles in support of the expedition. They cycled with us for about 5 kms on State Highway 49/East Coast Road. As we had a very short journey today, after breakfast we decided to stop over and visit the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust - Centre for Herpetology where we saw hundreds of crocodiles of different varieties such as the gharial, saltwater, marsh and many more from around the world. We also got to see some long pythons and a selection of turtles. It was such a marvelous place that we ended up spending over an hour checking out the beautiful creatures.

The heat was unbearable as we were cycling along the coast today but the glimpses of the sea we got made up for the high temperature and humidity. We reached Maammallapuram (as the locals call it) by 11 a.m. under the blazing sun and started hunting for a lodge and finally settled on the Sri Murugan Lodge. We ate a typical Tamilian lunch at the Ananda Bhavan restaurant which everyone relished. As we had nothing planned for the day some of us went back to the rooms to rest and some of us hit the shops! There were many Kashmiris who had set up store around the area we were staying at so we were able to buy some jewellery and some funky clothes! After waiting for the sun to settle down we decided to go see the Five Rathas rock temples, though unfortunately we reached there just after they shut. On our way back we were able to purchase some delicate showpieces carved out of marble.

Today was a very relaxed day other than the fact that we were baked under the sun! Tomorrow is another first for us as we will start cycling at 4 a.m. to avoid the coastal heat.

the policewomen - guest riders on the expedition

the crocs!!!!

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