The mystery monuments of Mamallapuram

Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Mamallapuram Monuments

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Is it Arjuna's Penance? Or is that Sage Bhagiratha meditating?

Questions have been asked, and inadequately answered, about the group of monuments at Mamallapuram, 90 km south of Chennai off the East Coast Road. While the Five Rathas and the Shore Temple are reasonably well documented and publicised, the bric-a-brac cluster of monuments along the road still poses a mystery. They are free to visit, which makes them a popular haunt with tourists -- and monkeys who chase after them for the soft drink bottles they carry. Most tourists just enjoy the ruins from the outside. However, if you wander around them, there is so much to discover and marvel at.

Photo editor AZHAR MOHAMED ALI explores this, the mysterious backyard of Mamallapuram, with Travel editor BIJOY VENUGOPAL

Follow them live on The Great East Coast Road Drive from Chennai to Rameswaram, Aug 1 to 13.

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