CHENNAI: Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping left Mamallapuram, hundreds of tourists on Saturday immediately gathered to get a feel of the 'beautified' temple town.
Pancha Rathas, Krishna's Butterball and the Lighthouse were thrown open to the public. However, much to the disappointment of the tourists, the Shore temple remained closed on Saturday for maintenance reasons and is expected to be opened only on Sunday.
In various places, arches made of fruits and vegetables were raised to welcome the leaders. The weight of the arches were about 3 tonnes, it is believed. The fruits and veggies include sweet lime, apple, bananas and brinjals. The local villagers took some of them for their houses before they were removed.
To hide the beach areas, beautifully painted make-shift walls were raised for about 500 metres near the shore temple and Krishna's Butterball.
The India-China flags were flying high in the medians of roads leading to the monuments. Most of the vendors, including the stone sculptors, opened their shops minutes after the summit was over.
Tourists who gathered after the summit said it was amusing to see Mamallapuram this way. ''In 40 years, the monuments have not looked this decorative with colourful lights. It was very beautiful and this
(event) will surely promote tourism. The government should maintain the place every day'' said Prabhakar B, a tourist.
Mamallapuram which is known for its monuments, will now be remembered for the historic summit too, said tourists. ''In the future, we can't talk about Mamallapuram without mentioning Indian Prime Minister
Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The place will tell good things about Indo-China relationship,'' said Senthil Kumar, another tourist.
''Like how Aththi Varadar brought Kancheepuram into prominence, Modi-Xi have boosted the popularity of Mamallapuram,'' added Kumar.
Civic facilities introduced in public places for the summit will remain for the use of locals. Various water tanks, waste bins and public toilets were kept near important monuments. Officials at Mamallapuram
Town Panchayat said these facilities will not be removed and it is for future use.
Though Mamallapuram bears a new look, all didn't go well for the locals in the past two days. They said they felt like they were under 'house-arrest' and could not even step out for an emergency.
Meanwhile, as the Chennai-Puducherry route was temporarily closed, the empty East Coast Road was a treat for bike-enthusiasts. Many bike riders geared up in sports and cruiser bikes taking this opportunity
to speed up.
Tourist inflow was in huge numbers on Saturday and more people are expected to visit the temple town Sunday.