The laid back backpacker's surfer paradise of Mamallapuram is also home to some startling Unesco-listed 7th-8th century rock carvings. When you consider they have been ravaged by the feisty Bay of Bengal for nearly one and a half thousand years (how many tsunamis have washed over the shore temples?) they are in pretty good nick. Scattered on the beach, through the town and on the hill, the carved boulders dominate the small fishing village. Most are free to visit, but the Archaeological Survey of India demands its pound of flesh from foreign tourists in the form of 250 rupees for the main attractions of the Shore Temples and five Rathas (it's a measly 10 rupees for Indian nationals). Don't be mean, though, it's worth every paisa.
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