Being a Chennaitie, my first tourist destination outside Chennai is perhaps Mahabs. But Mamallapuram being my ancestor’s town I could not consider it as a tourist destination first and I have been there countless time and many a visit to the town has sighted in any of the sculpture site. My most favorite place then at Mamallapuram was Venna Tharatna Kal (butter ball) and we frequent there esp. to have fun sliding on the rock slopes.
Krishna’s Butter Ball is a natural wonder, where a large rock boulder balance on the sliding rock surface is believed as a stone found on Krishna’s plate. The Pallava kings had tried to pull down the huge boulder with the help of their elephant force (thinking anytime the rock could roll down) but failed in their attempt. The lush green lawn in front of this rock (once an open ground for cattle to rest) take one for pleasant calm and as a group to sit and chit chat.
I have been strolled behind the rock slopes and crossing the gaps between rocks and there was a well with green water, which was called Sita Kinaru (well) because it is believed that Sita bathed in that well. I have no pictures on them, but I still hold memories on those sight and there was also a path lead to our relative’s house then. I hope everything were blocked and fenced by ASI, doing wonderful job in protecting the sculptors and rocks. We never thought then these places will take such pleasant enhancement and flourish in green.
Another place I liked and which is close to butter ball was Arjunan Penance. It is a giant bas-relief filled with marvelous carvings of various human forms and animals; the most fascinating part overall for me personally then were the Elephants. The sculptor of elephant couple and cute calves carved on the bottom of the bas-relief could be a favorite sight for any child and the pit reveal the bottom part was something dragged me then to look what is inside.
Another pretty scene next to this site was a sculptor of monkey looking lice on another. As kids (me and my bro) we used to go and stand behind the sculptor and pose like looking lice on the monkey sculpture. Beneath the monkeys, there’s a small slide to play and a rock carved steps to climb on, but I don't like it much as the natural sliding near the butter ball. The slide was partially hid now after the earth rose because of the lawn making.
Just thought to write something for the World Tourism Day today and here’s a brief account on my first tourist destination out of Chennai.