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13 Things About Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram

By Akshatha Vinayak

The Shore Temple which is on the banks of the Bay of Bengal is one of the main attractions of Mahabalipuram. Its beautiful structure is an architectural marvel, which depicts the ancient finesse of art.

The Shore Temple which was built during 700 - 728 AD has stood the test of times. Once a busy village port of Mahabalipuram is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tamil Nadu.

Let us get into the glorious past of Shore Temple!

A Stone Temple

A Stone Temple

Shore Temple is built using the granite stones and it is one of the oldest stone temples in South India. It is one of the famous structural stone temples which has stood strong over the years.

Photo Courtesy: Thurika

The Tale of Seven Pagodas

The Tale of Seven Pagodas

Shore Temple was named as 'Seven Pagodas' due to its pyramidal structure. The name 'Seven Pagodas' indicate to the existence of 7 temples in the past. Now only Shore temple remains to tell the tales of the past.

Photo Courtesy: Gopinath Sivanesan

A Landmark

A Landmark

In the time of Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram was popular trading port. It is said that the Shore Temple acted as a landmark for the navigation of ships.

Photo Courtesy: SatishKumar

Began and Continued

Began and Continued

The construction of Shore Temple was started by Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman II. Later, Cholas built the additional parts of the temple after invading the Mamallapuram from the Pallavas.

Photo Courtesy: Thurika

The European Dairies

The European Dairies

The existence of Mamallapuram and the Seven Pagodas have been recorded by some European travellers. It indicates to the popularity of the port and its trading connections outside India.

Photo Courtesy: Pratapy9

Three Temples

Three Temples

Shore temple is a complex of 3 temples. One big temple and two small temples. In that two temples have pyramid shaped gopura (temple tower).

Photo Courtesy: Thamizhapparithi Maari

Shiva and Vishnu

Shiva and Vishnu

Two shrines in the Shore Temple are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 3rd and the small temple is the Vishnu temple. This depicts the blend of religious ideologies which existed in the past.

Photo Courtesy: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Mythical Connect

Mythical Connect

The mythology of the King Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahalada is related with the temple. It is believed that after Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu, Prahalada becomes the king. The legend goes that Prahalada's son Bali founded Mahabalipuram in this place.

Photo Courtesy: michael clarke stuff

Stone Inscriptions

Stone Inscriptions

According to a stone inscription in the temple, the three temples are named as Kshatriyasimha Pallaveshwara - griham ,Rajasimha Pallaveshwar - griham and Pllikondaruliya - devar.

Photo Courtesy: Sankkk

Jalashayana

Jalashayana

The temple was also named as Jalashayana (lying in the water) because it is situated at the sea level.

Photo Courtesy: Thamizhpparithi Maari

The Submerged

The Submerged

The existence of more temples around the Shore Temple has been recorded. It is also believed that a natural calamity must have submerged other temples in the complex.

Photo Courtesy: Ashokarsh

The Exposed

The Exposed

Surprisingly, the Tsunami in December 2004 exposed some of these submerged parts of temples in Shore Temple complex. This provided food for further research about other temples on this coast line.

Photo Courtesy: Mkamath1976

Chariot Shaped

Chariot Shaped

Shore Temple looks like a Ratha (Chariot) from a distance. It is believed that Shore Temple resembles the structure of Dharmaraja Ratha.

Photo Courtesy: SatishKumar

Earlier the village was called as Mamallapuram that was a prominent centre during the rule of Narasimhavarman II of Pallava dynasty. Shore Temple along with other heritage sites and tourist places is worth your travel to Mahabalipuram.

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