The Shore temple is an ancient (8th century) stonetemple situated in the town of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest stone temples in southern India.
This temple belongs to the “Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram” which has been in the list ofthe UNESCO World Heritage Sites since the year 1984.
The shore temple was built during the rule of the Pallava dynasty in southern India, which was around the 8th century AD.
When this temple was being constructed, king Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty was ruling the region, and this site was then a busy port.
The shore temple is built in stone, more specifically, puregranite blocks. This temple is actually a huge complex that has multiple temples within it.
The complex mainly consists of two tall towers which belong to two different temples, which are dedicated to Lord Shiva (the “destroyer” deity, according to Hinduism). One of these faces east while the other faces the west direction. Between these two temples exists another temple that is dedicated to Anantsayana, (i.e., the sleeping form of Lord Vishnu – “the creator”).
In December 2004, when the region was hit by a Tsunami, it exposed an old collapsed temple built entirely of granite blocks at this temple’s site, along with some ancient rock sculptures of lions, elephants, etc which were apparently a part of temples and fortsin the 7th and 8th centuries.
was then speculated that the Shore temple had originally been part of the “Seven Pagodas” which were a group of seven temples that were built according to legends and had religious and historical importance, of which six temples were believed to remain submerged in the sea.
The Mahabalipuram Shore Temple is open to visitors between 6 AM and 6 PM every day, on all days of the week.
An entry fee of INR 10 per head is applicable for every Indian national (adult) visitor to this place, and for foreigners (adult), the entrance fee applicable is INR 340 per head. Entry is free for kids and children up to the age of 15 years. For shooting videos with a video camera, an additional 25 INR is charged.
Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram can be reached by air, rail or road.