Built during the 7th century, Shore Temple is one of the oldest South Indian temples constructed in the Dravidian style and depicts the royal taste of the Pallava dynasty. The work of the temple has been listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is located in Mahabalipuram and is one of the most photographed monuments in India situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal.
A fine example of the of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating back to the late seventh century, the Ganesh Rath was built during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Initially, it was dedicated to Lord Shiva and housed a Shivalinga in the complex, but later on the Linga was removed, and now, Lord Ganesh is worshiped here.
Varaha Cave Temple is an exquisite rock cut Hindu temple located in Mahabalipuram. Created during the reign of Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla, it is one of greatest examples of Pallava art. The temple dates back to the 7th century and bears a testimony to the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis. It houses an idol of Lord Vishnu in his Varaha form, a boar lifting Mother Earth.
Constructed in a Dravidian style, Sthalasayana Perumal Temple also called Thirukadalmallai, is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Lord Vishnu. He is worshiped here as Sthalasayana Perumal with his consort Lakshmi as Nilamangai Thayar. Yearly festival of Bhoothatazhwar Avata festival is also celebrated here during the Tamil month of Aipasi (October_November).
Olakkannesvara Temple, also known as the Old Lighthouse, is a structural temple built in 8th century. The structure is made out of grey-white granite and has a shikar on the top. Owing to its location on a hillock, it provides a pleasing view of the town. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, but the worship has been ceased after the 19th century.
At the outskirts of Mahabalipuram, by the East Coast Road connecting Chennai to Pondicherry, the Sri Karukathamman Temple is dedicated to Mother Amman. She is seated in a Sukhasana position and the interiors are colourful, with exquisite sculptures. It is believed that there was once a woman who was cursed by his ancestors, disallowing her to have a child. With Amman’s blessings, she gave birth to a beautiful child. As a temple of child boons and family prosperity, Mother Amman’s blessings are sought by many. She also grants relief from black magic and witchcraft.
The Mukunda Nayanar Temple, located near Mahabalipuram town, is a temple that was discovered during the neighbouring Saluvankuppam excavations. Found buried under 12 feet of sand, this small temple is architecturally similar to the Dharmaraja Ratha. It is thus believed that this temple was built under the kingship of Rajasimha Pallava. It is an east facing double-storey temple and has an ardha-mantapa which stands on two circular pillars. Above the pillars, a cluster of small shrines has been placed. The back wall of this temple hosts a Somaskanda panel.
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