The Shore Temple is the icon of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram. The temple gets its name from its location on the Coromandel shore overseeing the Bay of Bengal. The sculptural excellence symbolizes the heights of Pallava architecture. The Dravidian style of architecture dates back to the 7-8th century. It was built under the rule of King Narsimha Varma. The visual delight of finest architecture, the sculptures and intricate and full of vivacity. The granite rock cut carvings are proof of the sheer brilliance of the artisans who have created this magnificent structure. The structural designs can be only called ‘poetry in stone’. It has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Erected on a 50 feet square platform, the temple is a pyramidal structure rising to the heights of 60 feet. The characteristic specimen of Dravidian temple architecture, Shore Temple is one of the oldest structural stone temples of South India. The temple basks in the glow of the first rays of the rising sun and spotlights the waters after sunset.
The Shore Temple has three shrines, devoted to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The main temple is a five-storeyed structure sculpted out of granite dedicated to Lord Shiva. The pyramidal structure is 60 feet (18 m) high and sits on a 50 feet (15 m) square platform. In the Garbha Griha, sanctum sanctorum, a Shivalinga is worshipped. At the rear end, there are two shrines facing each other. One shrine is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and the other to Lord Vishnu. In the shrine, Lord Vishnu is seen reclining on the 'Seshanag', which is a symbol of consciousness in Hinduism.
The temples both interiors and exteriors are elaborately carved and sculptured. The images on the sculpted panels illustrate scenes from everyday life in an incredibly real and artistic style. The reliefs of Nandi bull is magnificent and worth checking out. The archeological department has excavated certain other figures from the site.
Shore Temple is no more a temple worshipped. The structure of the temple is awe-inspiring, it was erected basically as a work of art. In the present day, Shore Temple makes the background of Mahabalipuram Dance Festival held annually in January/ February. The festival was organized to promote the traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram.
Entry Timings : 6.00 am to 6.00 pm
Entry Fee : INR 10 for Indian citizens; INR 250 for other, no fee for visitors below age 15.
No fee for still photography, INR 25 for videography