How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way, public transportation by bus, train, taxi. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

So you’re backpacking around South India, and you’re going from…

 

Pondicherry…

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram by public transportation bus or train. Best things to do in Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

…to…

 

Mahabalipuram!

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram by public transportation bus or train. Best things to do in Mahabalipuram. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

 

So when trying to confirm the correct bus to get on when you’re at the Pondicherry bus station, remember these 3 names when trying to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram.

 

Bus to…

  • Chennai
  • ECR
  • Mahabalipuram

…and ask about all 3 (say them in succession), just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding!

 

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

 

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram

The quick list:

  • Arrive at Pondicherry bus station
  • Look for bus to Chennai/ECR and get on that bus
  • Enjoy the bus ride!
  • Get off the bus at the Mahabalipuram bus stand
  • Walk across the street/highway
  • Find a rickshaw to take you into town, or walk!
  • Visit Mahabalipuram!

 

Arrive at Pondicherry bus station

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry bus station. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Look for bus to Chennai/ECR and get on that bus

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Get off the bus at the Mahabalipuram bus stand

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR, Mahabalipuram bypass road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Enjoy the bus ride along ECR!

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Walk across the street/highway

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR, how to get to town, sea shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Find a rickshaw to take you into town, or walk!

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Rickshaw to get to Mahabalipuram town, sea shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Visit Mahabalipuram!

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Visit best things to do in Mahabalipuram town, sea shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

So…

When you’re headed to Mahabalipuram from Pondicherry…

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

 

Go to the Pondicherry bus station

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, local government bus. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

 

Once there…

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, local government bus. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, local government bus. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, local government bus. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, local government bus. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

 

So many buses! 

And it’s pretty much all in the local language of Tamil!

So which bus to take?!

 

 

You’re looking to get on a bus going in the direction of Chennai, via ECR

There are different routes that buses take to get to Chennai, so you want to make sure to get on the bus that goes along ECR. That part is in English!

 

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. ECR bus Pondicherry to Chennai - ECR bus Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. ECR bus Pondicherry to Chennai - ECR bus Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Look for a bus that says ECR on it. There are blue buses and green buses. Honestly I don’t know the difference. To get to Mahabalipuram I took a blue bus, to get back to Pondicherry I took a green bus – basically I just got on the first bus that arrived!

 

ECR stands for East Coast Road but you will probably hardly ever hear anyone refer to it in its full name. As the name indicates, the road basically runs along the coast. 

 

The other bus route that goes from Pondicherry to Chennai (and the opposite direction, from Chennai to Pondicherry) is basically the “bypass” bus (that’ll be the name you’ll see on the bus), and goes more interior.

This bus route would not pass through Mahabalipuram, so you don’t want to get on the bus to Chennai that says “bypass.”

 

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Bypass bus Pondicherry to Chennai - Bypass bus Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

You don’t want to get on the bus to Chennai that says bypass… err bye-pass… when you’re headed to Mahabalipuram. 

 

Once you get to the Pondicherry bus station, the best thing would be to ask someone that seems to be in-the-know about a Chennai/ECR bus so you can know where to go.

Since Chennai is a popular destination, people who are around the bus station a lot will most likely know where to go.

 

 

So when I first got to the Pondicherry bus station, I saw a huge sign that said “toilet” across the station.

Since the Chennai to Pondicherry bypass bus I took didn’t have a rest break time, I figured the ECR bus wouldn’t have a break either. So I decided to go to the bathroom before I got on the bus. (And it turns out that ECR buses do have breaks!)

And I made my way through the bus station…

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, buy snacks. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, buy snacks. Tamil Nadu bus travel. Backpacking South India

 

Public toilets in India are generally pay-to-use. The toilet at the Pondicherry bus station cost 3 rupees (US$0.05).

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, public toilet, pay-to-use. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

This was among the cleanest public toilets I’ve seen! And there was a bleach smell to it, so I guess they clean frequently. 

You may find that public toilets at bus stations and train station have squat toilets only (and with no toilet paper). 

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, public toilet. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry bus station, public toilet. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Okay, so now to finding the bus!

I started walking a bit and saw a bus that said ECR that was departing.

I asked some nearby people who seemed like they look like they’d be happy to help, and pointed at the bus, asking if it goes to Chennai and Mahabalipuram, to confirm.

So, I went to get on that bus.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Pondicherry to Chennai ECR bus to Mahabalipuram. Bus timings. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus seats, interior. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Then once again, when I got on the bus, I confirmed that it was the bus to Mahabalipuram. (I like to confirm multiple times just in case!) 

 

So with these types of local government buses, you’ll pay for your bus ticket once you get on the bus.

So you don’t need to buy a ticket ahead of time.

You can just head to the bus station and get on the bus to Mahabalipuram!

Shortly after you get on the bus, the bus ticket worker will come around.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. How to buy bus tickets. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

At that point, you’ll tell him your destination is Mahabalipuram, and then he’ll tell you how much it costs.

 

 

How much is a bus from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram?

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus ticket. How much do bus tickets cost price. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

When I took this bus, it cost 91 rupees (US$1.50). 

 

 

What are the bus timings?

Basically, you don’t really need to be concerned about specific bus timings when you are traveling from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram.

It seems that there are very frequent buses that go from Pondicherry to Chennai taking ECR, which means you very likely won’t have to wait long for the next bus to arrive. 

 

 

How long does the bus ride take?

So just to give an idea, these were the bus timings when I took this bus:

  • 12:00pm – Depart Pondicherry bus station
  • 1:30pm – Stop for break (20 minutes)
  • 2:30pm –  Arrive at Mahabalipuram bus stand

 

 

Rest area

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road, rest food break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

So, this bus ride did have a break. (This is not always normal on government buses.)

Generally, you won’t expect too much from these rest areas on the side of the road.

You can get small snacks here.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road, rest food break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

There are usually also toilets here, although again it’s best to not expect too much in cleanliness. 

These toilets were again pretty good though.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road, rest toilet break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road, rest toilet break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

These breaks will probably usually be around 10 minutes, although my bus was stopped for around 20 minutes.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road, rest food break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Now…

The bus route from Pondicherry station along ECR to Mahabalipuram and to Chennai!

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, from Pondicherry bus station, through city traffic. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, from Pondicherry bus station, through city. fruit stands. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. jackfruit. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. rickshaw. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. jackfruit. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry to Chennai bus ride, ECR road. jackfruit. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Once it seems like you’re getting near Mahabalipuram, you can ask the bus ticket worker about it so he can make sure to remember to request the bus driver to stop. (He whistles.)

I was following along on Google Maps with GPS (no data necessary) so I had an idea of when I was approaching the stop. 

 

 

But the bus ticket worker also very kindly let me know it was soon time! 

I think I was the only one that got off at the Mahabalipuram bus stop.

 

 

Arrive at Mahabalipuram bus stand!

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Mahabalipuram bus stand, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

So you have arrived at the Mahabalipuram bus stop!

You will basically be dropped off on the side of a major road.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Mahabalipuram bus stand, ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Mahabalipuram bus stand, ECR road. fruit stand. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Now what?!

If you look across the street, you’ll see a sign that points to the direction of Mahabalipuram town.

Actually it says “Mamallapuram” which is another name for Mahabalipuram.

So I crossed the street and started heading that way.

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. How to get from Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand to town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. How to get from Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand to town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. How to get from Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand to town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

And then soon enough, I was approached by a rickshaw, and I decided to take it. I was told it would be 100 rupees (US$2). I had no idea what the appropriate cost was here, but I just took it. 

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Rickshaw from Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand to town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

He also tried to sell me a rickshaw tour of the top places in Mahabalipuram for 500 rupees (US$7) in case you are interested in that. I was not. 

If you’re not immediately approached by a rickshaw, if you head a few steps towards town, there’s a rickshaw stand on the left side. 

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Rickshaw from Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand to town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

If you want to walk, it’ll probably take around 20-30 minutes to get to the tourist attractions. 

 

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram. Visit best things to do in Mahabalipuram town, sea shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

How to get from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram - best way. Pondicherry to Chennai bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

HAPPY PONDICHERRY TO MAHABALIPURAM BUS RIDE!

 

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