Here’s why we believe there’s a lot more to Mahabs than lounging within homestays and surfing!
MONTHS AFTER THE famous ‘Xi Jinping visit’, people continue to flock to this ancient Pallava port city. The first and most obvious question, most Chennai-based millennials are asking is, why? To most, ‘Mahabs’ is just another weekend getaway by the beach. A safe space to unwind with a few cold brews while wiggling their toes into the hot sand by Bob Marley Cafe.
An area that doesn’t come with the hustle-and-bustle felt in its ex-French Colonial neighbour. To gain a deeper understanding, we accepted an invite from Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram and made the 90-minute drive to the luxury resort and convention centre.
After checking into our plush room and taking a quick dip in the pool—situated beside White Plumeria trees that are in full blossom—we head on down to meet Girish Krishnan, who manages the resort. As the hotel, located on the East Coast Road (ECR), is close to the seaside and historical monuments of the town, they recently launched an experiential initiative in the form of an exclusive shuttle service for in-house guests.
“Apart from the bespoke services offered at the hotel, we want our guests to experience some of the finest destinations the town of Mahabalipuram has to offer. Our new shuttle, christened ‘Mahabs Express’ is one such unique service that enables our guests to get up and close with the region like never before,” claims Girish.
The entire service provides three different pick-up timings from the property (at 9.30 am, 11 am, and 3.30 pm) to ensure guests can utilise the services according to their convenience. The Four Points ‘Mahabs Express’ offers the best in class service—complete with an expert local driver (who can provide the occasional bit of geographical trivia) and a concierge team who will help with the shuttle route; pick up-drop schedules, locations, contact details, and the location map for hassle-free rendezvous. The culinary staff may even pack small snacks and fresh fruits, in case guests get hungry after trudging around all day.
Set in stone
The decked-up air-conditioned 12-seater takes guests to two main areas: the town and an offroad experience centre. History buffs will love the service as it stops by at locations that have been around since the seventh century during the Pallava dynasty. Recommended visits that are at a walkable distance, include The Five Rathas, which are extremely well preserved rock-cut temples, and The Shore Temple—a UNESCO World Heritage site—that overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
While you’re there, don’t forget that mandatory selfie beneath Krishna’s Butter Ball—a huge boulder near the Ganesha Ratha that precariously rests on a narrow rock base. Shutterbugs can venture up the steep stone staircase of Mahabalipuram Lighthouse for a breathtaking bird’s eye view of this quaint town.
Adrenaline junkies needn’t despair, as the ‘Mahabs Express’ also heads to a destination nestled between the beach and forest, lined with Casuarina trees. Polaris, an adventurous ATV sports centre, that has an off-road track and fun-filled boat rides. Their heart-stopping, off-road ride through the forest and onto the beach alone is worth the trip. You are sure to head back to the hotel with a smile plastered on your face, despite being riddled with sand.
The writer was here on an invite from Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram
Resort and Convention Center.