The Shore Temple is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Mamallapuram (also known as Mahabalipuram), a town in the Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is considered to be one of the oldest structural stone temples in South India, during the reign of the Pallava dynasty. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The Shore Temple was built during the reign of Pallava Emperor Narasimhavarman II built in the 7th – 8th century. The temple was built to honour Lord Shiva and it was originally called the “Shiva Vishnu Temple”. It was later named the “Shore Temple” by the British as it is located on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
According to local legend, the Shore Temple was originally one of seven temples built on the shore, six of which were submerged in the sea. The Shore Temple is the only one that survived, and it is said to have been protected by the gods. The temple is considered to be a sacred site and is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus.
The temple is a perfect example of the Pallava style of architecture. The intricate carvings on the walls and the detailed sculptures are a testament to the skill and artistry of the Pallava artisans. The temple is not only an architectural marvel but also a cultural icon of Tamil Nadu.
The Shore Temple is unique because it is one of the few temples in South India that was not built on a hill. Instead, it was built on the seashore, making it vulnerable to the ravages of nature. However, the temple has stood the test of time and has survived numerous natural calamities like cyclones and tsunamis.
The temple complex comprises three shrines, with the central one dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other two to Lord Vishnu. The architecture of the temple is an amalgamation of Dravidian and Nagara styles. The sculptures on the walls of the temple depict stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
The Pallavas were known for their love of art, architecture, and literature. They were patrons of the fine arts and encouraged the development of the art and literature of their time. The Shore Temple is a fine example of their architectural genius and is a testament to their love of art.
The Shore Temple is open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day of the week. The best time to visit the temple is during the early morning hours or in the evening when the temple is illuminated.
How to Reach:
The Shore Temple is located in Mahabalipuram, which is about 60 kilometers south of Chennai. The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport, which is about 55 kilometers away from Mahabalipuram. The town is also well-connected by bus and train, and there are frequent buses and trains from Chennai to Mahabalipuram.