Saturday, June 15, 2024


Shore Temple is a complex of temples and shrines that overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is located in Mahabalipuram, about 60 kilometres south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu,

The word Mahabalipuram is believed to have been a derivate of the original name Mamallapuram, which means the city of Mamalla – the warrior. Mamalla was a title of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I (630-70 CE).

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.

ALSO READ: About Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

It was during his reign that the majority of the heritage structures that we see today in Mamallapuram were made. Mamallapuram became an important commercial centre in the 6th century CE, during the rule of Pallava king SimhaVishnu.

This was an era of great political churnings that saw Pallavas competing for power with Pandyas, Cheras, and Cholas; coupled with increasing religious fervour as part of the Bhakti movement under the Alwars (Vaishnava) and Nayanar (Shaiva) saints.

Among the most famous landmarks of this once-thriving port, is the Shore temple. Marco Polo in his travel book mentioned the temple, referring to it as the Seven Pagodas of Mamallapuram, a name which stuck to the cluster of the Shore temples among the European traders and cartographers.

Architecture of Shore Temple

No photo description available.

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.

The Shore Temple is both a rock cut and a free-standing structural temple. The entire temple stands on a naturally occurring granite boulder. The complex consists of three separate shrines: two dedicated to the god Shiva, and one to Vishnu.

The Vishnu shrine is the oldest and smallest of the three shrines, The other elements of the temple, including the gateways, walls, and superstructures were constructed out of quarried stone and mortar.

The shallow temple mandapas (entry porches) are reached by climbing few stairs, and right beyond the doorway that holds weathered dwarapalas, are the two main sanctums. These sanctums show the typical Pallavan feature: a Somskanda panel and a fluted Shiva linga (the smaller sanctum facing west has the linga missing, while the main sanctum facing east has a broken fluted linga).

Behind the two main sanctums stands the third sanctum that has no vimana and holds a small mandapa or porch. In this sanctum can be seen the Seshasayi (Sthalasayana) Vishnu. The five-storeyed temples have been positioned in such a manner that the first rays of the sun fall on the main east-facing fluted lingam.

As an architectural form, the Shore Temple is of immense importance, situated on the culmination of two architectural phases of Pallava architecture: it demonstrates progression from rock cut structures to free standing structural temples, and displays all the elements of mature Dravidian architecture.

It signifies religious harmony with sacred spaces dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu, and was also an important symbol of Pallava political and economic strength.

Quick Facts

  • Address: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104
  • District: Chengalpattu
  • Deity: Shiva and Vishnu
  • Timings : 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Time Required : 1-2 hrs
  • Dress Code : None. But it is recommended to dress modestly.
  • Photography: inside the sanctums is not allowed.
  • Entry Fee: INR 10 ,  INR 340 for foreigners 
  • Best Time To Visit: October to Feburary


Interesting Facts about Shore Temple

  • The entire temple is divided into many sections and each section is having a shrine to different deities. The entire structure of this temple consists of several sculptures, carvings of lions and images, which clearly explains why this place is a popular work of art.
  • One can observe that the entire structure is monolithic, and is similar to the design of the Panch Rathas. A portion of this temple is eroded because of its close proximity to the sea and its salty winds.
  • During the Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram was popular trading port. It is said that the Shore Temple acted as a landmark for the navigation of ships.
  • According to a stone inscription in the temple, the three temples are named as Kshatriyasimha Pallaveshwara – griham ,Rajasimha Pallaveshwar – griham and Pllikondaruliya – devar.
  • Shore Temple looks like a Ratha (Chariot) from a distance. It is believed that Shore Temple resembles the structure of Dharmaraja Ratha.

How to Reach Shore Temple ?

By Air

Chennai Airport serves as the closest airport to Mamallapuram. The airport is located around 58 km away from the temple town.

By Rail

Nearest train station to Mamallapuram is Chengalpattu Junction. It connects Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu by express and mail trains

By Road

Mamallapuram is well connected by road with rest of Tamil Nadu. State and private buses ply at regular and frequent intervals. Road condition is good and the drive along the coast is quite pleasant. Depending on budget, passengers can avail AC or non AC buses.

Where To Stay?

There are multiple accomodation options aviliable nearby the temple.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Q. Who built shore temple?

The temple was built by Narasimhavarman I and later Pallava dynasty.

Q. Where is shore temple situated?

It is located in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on the banks of Bay of Bengal.

Q. Where is famous shore temple in india located?

It is located in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on the banks of Bay of Bengal.

Q. What is the entry fees of Shore Temple?

INR 10 (Indians) and INR 340 (foreigners)

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Note: We don’t make any guarantees if the above-stated facts are not correctIf you think any information provided by us is wrong then contact us.


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