Ranked 1 among Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram
Time Required: 1-2 hrs
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.
The Shore Temple's name originated as a result of its overlooking the shore of Bay of Bengal. It is built with blocks of granite which can be dated back to the 8th century AD. It comprises of three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the Sanctum Sanctorum an image of Shivalinga is present. Towards the end, two shrines facing each other can be spotted. One shrine out of this is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and the other one to Lord Vishnu. The image shows Lord Vishnu reclining on the 'Seshanag' which depicts "consciousness" in Hinduism.
The Shore Temple is no more a living temple. It was constructed as a work of art. The Pallavas, who were known to be great patrons of art wanted to create a temple in their own style of architecture. At present, Shore Temple is made the background of the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival which is held in January/February every year. The festival marked as well as promoted the traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram. The temple looks beautiful due to the lights during weekend evenings.
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