We were supposed to get going by 7:30, but it was nearly 9 by the time we finally got moving. I'll just stop by saying being late is a South Indian thing, which drives this particular anal CPA nuts. It once again took about an hour to clear the city, and reach the scenic East Coast Road. The backwaters of the area soon came into view.
Back towards the sea is "Thirukadalmallai", a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. My uncle said this structure is "newer", dating to the 17th century, but some information I have uncovered indicates it may also date back to the Pallava dynasty, like the rest of the the Mahabalipuram structures (6th-8th century).
Behind the complex are a series of cave temples, most of which look similar. Here are some photos of a representative sample.
Draupadi's Ratha. Notice that the Kali devotees we saw a few days ago on the way to Kumbakonam appear to have followed us here.
There is one other major structure in Mahabalipuram, the "Shore Temple". My brother and I actually have visited the shore temple, but it was more than 15 years ago, and I don't remember much about it. We unfortunately didn't have time to visit it this time. Given the limited amount of time we did have, I was just glad we were able to see Mahabalipuram at all.
Next week, I will wrap up our trip to India with a post continuing our road trip to Pondicherry, along with a trip report of our flights back home.