Shore Temple

Built during the early 700 AD, the Shore Temple is a beautiful structure that was named strategically after its location. The Shore Temple overlooks the Shore of Bay of Bengal. It is made of huge blocks of fresh Granite that was founded during the 7th century. The Shore Temple is one of the oldest structures in South India. History states that the Shore Temple was built by Narasimhavarman II, who wished to make Mamallapuram a busy port. Today, the temple is a part of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram. Since, 1984 the place became part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

History Behind the Shore Temple


The Shore Temple received its name from sailors, who fell in love with its splendid and beautiful tall structure. The temple was treated as a navigational spot by may sailors and traders. Some sailors called the Shore Temple as the Seven Pagodas. This became a famous name amongst seafarers. The Shore Temple blends the architectural creations of King Narasimhavarma I and the Monolithic Rathas. There are many cut in and cut out structures in the temple. The architectural elegance of the Shore Temple can be attributed to the Tiger's Cave and Pidari Rathas. These were also amazing creations from the Pallava Dynasty. It is believed that the Shore Temple is lined up with a huge range of many submerged coastline temples. There are many sister temples in and around the Shore Temple to enhance its overall outlook. As time passed, the Shore Temple was managed and enriched by the Cholas.

Shore Temple


Inscriptions in the Shore Temple


According to various inscriptions in the Shore Temple, the Vishnu Shrine was the first to be implanted. There are many slabs in and around the region. A small slab in the Shiva Temple near the Shore Temple has three smaller temples called Pillikondarulliya Devar, Palaveshwara Griham and Rajasimha Palaveshwara Griham. The very first shrine that was evacuated from this place was a Vishu Shrine.

Legend of the Shore Temple


The Shore Temple pays an integral role in Mamallapuram's Seven Pagodas. This is an ancient Hindu legend that discusses about the beginning of many things. According to myths, Prince Hiranyakasipu refused to bow down to Lord Vishnu. His son Prahlada was an ardent Vishnu devotee, who had the habit of critizing his father. Sooner, Prince Hiranyakasipu banished his son from the kingdom. And, they started to argue badly about the existence of Vishnu. When Prahlada told that you can find Vishnu everywhere, Prince Hiranyakasipu kicked a pillar. Consequently, Vishnu appeared in it and killed Prince Hiranyakasipu. Eventually, Prahlada's son became king and found the Shore Temple.

Tourist Attraction in Mamallapuram


Layout of the Shore Temple


The Shore Temple is a combination of three temples. As you take a look from the Northern side of the Temple, it will look like the Dharmaraja Ratha. The main entrance of the Shore Temple faces the East. As the sun rises, you will see rays on the Shiva Linga inside the Shrine. The five storied temple is around 60 feet high and 50 feet wide. It has a square platform and is completely cut from granite. The main and second Shrine in the Shore Temple is dedicated to Shiva, while the third temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The outer wall of this Vishnu shrine is sculptured extensively and is surrounded by stone sculptures of roaring lions. Moving on, you will see many Nandis in the Shore Temple.

Features of the Shore Temple


  • The temple has a Sivalinga and small Mandapam that is surrounded by a heavy, well sculptured wall.
  • The rear end of the temple has two beautiful shrines that face one another.
  • The inner shrine of the Shore Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • The Shore Temple has a beautiful roof that is extremely similar to the Pancha Rathas. There are many finials on the roofs that make the temple complete.
  • The Shore Temple's octagonal shape is of Dravidian architecture and is dedicated to Shiva.
  • Below each sanctuary wall you will see columns with lion bases.
  • The Somaskanda Panel and Dharalinga are two interesting, distinctive features of the Shore Temple.
  • The Dharalinga is in Rajasimha Style and is carved from black basalt stone.
  • The Somaskanda Panel has the family  portrait of Shiva.. There are few more panels in and around the temple.

Shore Temple

The Shore Temple Today


Currently, the temple is managed by the ASI, who took over after Tsunami in 2006. The Temple is protected carefully from salt water and coastal winds. Many treatments are done to preserve the temple's originality and beauty. Nearly 11 acres around the temple is preserved and beautified by the ASI.

How to reach the Shore Temple

The place is well connected by road, train and air. You can drive to the Shore Temple from Chennai and many other nearby places. The nearest Railway Station is located in Chengalpet, which is 30km from Mamallapuram. And, the nearby airport is 55km from Mamallapuram.

UNESCO World Heritage site in Tamil Nadu


Hotels Near the Shore Temple


Hotel Sea Breeze
Address: Ottawadai Street, Kanchipuram District, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, 603104
Phone : +(91)-44-27443765
Starting price: Rs 2,397
Distance : 0.3 km

Hotel Mamallaa Heritage
No.104, East Raja Street,, Mamallapuram, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, 603104,
Phone :+(91)-9840260672, 9380126188
Starting price:  Rs 2,565
Distance : 0.6 km

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay
Adress : 57, Covelong Road, Kanchipuram District, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, 603104 ?
Phone :+(91)-9056012770
Starting price: Rs7,197
Distance : 0.8 km

Chariot Beach Resort
Address : Five Rathas Road, Behind Five Rathas Monuments, Mahabalipuram 603104
Phone : +044 2498 8282
Starting price: Rs 6,024
Distance : 1.4 km


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