The sun was bidding adieu for the day when we reached Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram which is another name for this ancient town which lies about 60 kilometers away from Chennai, the bustling metropolis of Southern India. The history of Mahabalipuram can be traced back to the 1st century when it was known to the world as a thriving seaport.
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram
After an unforgettable experience at Radisson Blu Hotel GRT, Chennai, our group was looking forward to an exciting experience which would spread over 2 nights and 3 days at a beach resort – the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram.
Our bus turned into a huge archway that led us into the sprawling premises of the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram, and we all alighted to be greeted by a cool evening sea breeze.
We were ushered into the main lobby of the hotel where we were greeted with seashell garlands and tender coconut water, aesthetically presented in the coconut shells itself. Above all the welcome was generously seasoned with warmth and smiles by the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram team.
We could all sense the promise of paradise in those initial moments itself.
Our Place of Nesting
An environment-friendly electric Buggy transported us across the sprawling resort to our assigned room which happened to be a chalet with a lovely sea-view balcony that looked out towards the waters of the Bay of Bengal. The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram offers a choice of Standard Chalets, Pool View Chalets, Sea View Chalets, Pool Villas and Business Class Rooms for guests based on their requirements.
Our room was a haven of comfort and was equipped with comfortable beds, mini-bar, Coffee-Maker, Sofa, LCD TV, and had a spacious Bathroom with a bath tub to luxuriate in. A towel arranged in the shape of a cute dog looked welcomingly at us.
The Balcony looked across the sprawling and verdant grounds of the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay and we could see palm trees swaying in the distance and the gray shape of the sea looming behind them.
Dinner and Much More
After a couple of hours of relaxation in our chalet, we made our way towards the lawns which bordered the sea for that was the venue for Dinner. Elegantly laid and uniquely decorated buffet counters were neatly arranged on the lawns and we were welcomed by the smiling staff who were dressed in traditional attire, befitting the theme of the night. We settled down in our comfortable chairs, breathing in large gulps of the sea breeze that wafted across from the shore, looking forward to a sumptuous dinner by the side of the Bay of Bengal.
But dinner had to wait, there was a surprise in store for us.
The night soon erupted into dazzling brilliance as we were treated to some unique and traditional performances of dance and music. The artistes also performed some daring acts of jugglery, balancing and literally playing with fire. This was followed by the floor opening up for everyone to shake a leg to some tantalizing numbers expertly mixed by the DJ of the night. The night literally came alive as dance and music added their intoxicating tinge to the proceedings.
Dinner was an array of lovingly crafted traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, cooked and presented in traditional style. From starters to the desserts each dish had a story to tell of its own culinary journey and mirrored the rich traditions, culture, and heritage of the region. The food, the setting, the dance and the music blended with hospitality transformed a summer night into an unforgettable experience.
The revelry continued, but we took our leave as we needed to be up early morning, the next day for we had a rendezvous with the rising sun. Being the avid sun chasers that we were or call it that Sunfascination is in our DNA, we were not going to let the opportunity of watching the sun rise from the waters of the Bay of Bengal let go. The early morning also held the lure of a catamaran ride into the sea.
Indulgence for the Senses on Day-2
A Hypnotic Sunrise on the Beach
After getting some high quality sleep in the comfort of our chalet at The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram. we woke up when it was still dark and brewed ourselves some hot and steaming coffee in the coffee maker. Fully energized and charged, we walked out into the cusp of another day that promised to be as exciting as the one preceding it.
We walked through the grounds to reach the beach. The sounds of the waves crashing on the sands merged with the early morning cries of birds to create nature’s own musical masterpiece. The light had broken over the horizon where sea met sky, but the sun was not visible due to the cloud cover. We waited patiently, sometimes sitting on the catamaran moored on the sands, sometimes walking along the virgin sands and watching the waves and listening to the musical melody that nature had arranged for us.
We watched a big wave rise in the distance and break on the sands, the water receding back gracefully. A crab washed ashore, shyly scampered away from our watchful eyes and then the sun broke through the clouds, bathing the land and water in an ethereal golden glow. The familiar thrill of pure bliss engulfed our beings as we looked in awe at the celestial beauty of the sun and its early morning splendour.
Our mind and soul feeling strangely calmed and meditative, we looked forward to an early morning foray into the sea, however it was not to be, we were informed that the weather conditions were not safe enough to venture into the sea that day, so our catamaran dreams, seemed to be shattered. But never mind, we thought, we would return back to The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram some other day to experience the thrill of the catamaran.
A Leisurely walk and a sumptuous Breakfast
We chose to walk from the beach through the enchantingly landscaped grounds of The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram to Waters Edge, the restaurant where a delectable breakfast spread awaited us.
As we walked along neatly laid paths and artistically landscaped gardens we realized how the property had been seamlessly integrated with nature and seemed to be one with the environment. There was not one single structure that was jarring to the senses, each tree, each building seemed to belong where they stood.
The meandering pool, one of the largest of its kind ubiquitously flowed gracefully crisscrossing the property.
The sheer size of the property ensured that guests enjoyed seclusion amidst nature. We felt that it was a lovely place for families as well as couples to get away to.
The large open spaces were definitely something that kids would enjoy.
Add to that the various indoor and outdoor activities available which included ATV rides, Zorbing, beach volleyball and an infinity pool in addition to many indoor games like Snooker, Foosball, Table Tennis, etc..
We also had occasion to visit the Grand Ballroom which was massive at 10,500 square feet. The elegant place looked ideal for a grand, big fat wedding. In fact, the resort was ideal as a place for a destination wedding or any other corporate events.
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, looking at the blue waters of the meandering pool reflecting the golden rays of the morning sun.
The breakfast spread itself was massive and included the best of Indian, European and American cuisine.
The choice was mind-boggling, it ranged from Masala Dosas and Idlis to the most tempting pancakes, croissants, muffins, and pastries.
The Spa Magic
The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram houses the Bodhi Spa which has been nominated as a finalist in the 2017 World Luxury Spa Awards and Ayush which is an Ayurvedic Therapy Centre.
We spent some moments of pure bliss at the spa lost in the luxurious pampering. We had opted for a short session which was known as Pada Abhyangam, in which special Ayurvedic oils were used by an expert masseur to massage the feet from the toes to the knees. As the expert hands kneaded the muscles and nerves, key energy points were stimulated which resulted in improved blood flow giving rise to a feeling of calm relaxation. Years of pent up energy and strain seemed to have been released from sore feet as if by the touch of a magic wand.
On The Temple Trail
Late afternoon saw some of us brave the sweltering and humid heat and embark on a voyage of discovery that would take us to some of the most intriguing temples of India that dotted the coast of Mahabalipuram.
The first temple that we visited was the Shore temple which is actually visible from the beach near The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram. The ruins of the shore temple date back to the 8th century AD and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built with blocks of granite, the temple resembles a Pagoda. Early sailors knew the place as “Seven Pagodas” and it is fascinating to note that though today there is only one temple standing on the sands, the tsunami that hit the area in they year 2004 and disturbed the sea waters has uncovered the ruins of an old temple built by blocks underneath the sea. This finding adds credence to the belief that originally there were seven such temples and six of them lie submerged underneath the sea!
The next halt on our temple trail was the Pancha Rathas which literally translates as Five Chariots. This is a collection of 5 monumental structures which are glowing examples of India’s monolithic rock -cut architecture.
The structures are not temples as they were never completed. Each structure resembles a chariot and their purpose will never be known. These monuments are also classified under the category of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Our next and final halt as the sun set over an eventful day was to a site popularly known as Krishna’s Butterball.
A gigantic rock weighing approximately 250 tons stands precariously balanced on an incline. History records the fact that many attempts were made to move the rock, including the use of seven elephants, however, the rock has not budged and seems to be poised for eternity. Interestingly the rock is heavier as well as bigger than the ones found in Machu Picchu!
Just before you enter the gate which leads you to Krishna’s Butterball, by the side of the road are two rock reliefs that have been carved on giant monolithic rocks. This monument is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as, Descent of the Ganges, as it depicts the mythological story of how the sacred river Ganga was brought to earth by Bhagiratha.
With the enigma of the poised monolithic rock, haunting our minds and the last rays of the setting sun shimmering on the road, we made our way back to the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram well in time for dinner.
Dinner at The Wharf
The silvery waters of the sea shimmered in the distance, the sea breeze ruffled our hair. Lanterns cast an ethereal glow as we seated ourselves at The Wharf, a restaurant that is inspired by the Panch Tattva or five basic elements of the universe, space, fire, air, water, and earth. Appropriately named, The Wharf, the restaurant simulated the ambience of a seaside restaurant of yore. One could feel the salt of the sea and the excitement of a sea voyage imbedded into the theme of the restaurant.
Exotic sea food and classic wines completed the idyllic setting. As the night lengthened, conversation flowed along with the wine and food disappeared fast in the dim glow of the lanterns, as the staff discreetly and unobtrusively replaced platter after platter and refilled glass after glass. The dinner seemed a befitting grand finale to the unique and thrilling experiences that we had been through in the past couple of days at the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram.
Day-3-Time for Goodbyes
The morning sun cast its benign glow over the beautiful grounds of the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram, as we gathered in the main lobby. It was time for goodbyes. Time to click a group photograph. Time to have one look at this place where we had experienced paradise.
As we climbed into the bus, we felt a familiar tug in our hearts, the same kind of feeling that one gets when one is leaving home. To complete the picture of a home away from home, we were given packed breakfasts, a gesture which we usually associate with the caring that is the prerogative of Mothers across the world.
Thus we made our way out of this beach resort – Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram with moments of paradise frozen for posterity in our hearts and drove towards Kanchipuram where another GRT experience awaited us.
Stay at Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram is an indulgence for the senses. Experiences range from fine dining to temple trails, luxurious spa to chilling out at the beach.
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We were hosted by The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram. However, the opinions stated here are our own and based on personal experience.
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