Monday, February 11, 2008

Mamallapuram Ham meet - February 9 & 10, 2008

We hope you enjoyed the 2008 Mamallapuram Ham meet. We will leave informatiion on the 2008 event up here until we start firming up plans for '09 so you can see what you missed. The Mamallapuram Ham meet is held every year on the second FULL weekend in February. Come join us at the Hotal Veeras in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India for one of the best ham meets in the India.
Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai made famous by its stone carvings. The most famous monument is the Shore Temple: when lit by moonlight, it is one of the most beautiful locations in the region. The best time to visit is November to March.
It is an important tourist attraction close to Chennai (Madras), along with the temples of Kanchipuram and the colonial buildings of Pondicherry. India's fourth largest city. The East Coast Road has made it easily accessible - just about an hour from the city. Unfortunately, the entire strip is now a mess of restaurants, resorts, amusement parks, people, discarded plastic and chaotic traffic. At one time you could see the Bay of Bengal almost all the way to M'puram, but, there is so much development that the ocean is glimpsed only as you get close to M'puram.
Mamallapuram itself was getting run down over the last decade with very patchy efforts at keeping the monuments preserved. This has changed in the last few years with the Shore Temple being included in the UNESCO heritage project. The surroundings have been made much nicer, but, there has been a lot of wind and water erosion on the temple carvings with many of them having undergone loss of detail over the years. Sort of too little. too late, but still, better than nothing. Be prepared to fight you way through clutches of gypsies, beggars, guides, snakes charmers and so on, all of which is an essential part of the experience and not to be frowned upon. The whole thing would be bland without them. A nuisance, but harmless.
It is a nice two-hour detour on the road to Pondicherry, by far and away a more interesting place to visit.