Exploring the Magnificence of the Shore Temple in Tamil Nadu

Posted On : 15-3-2018
Shore Temple Tamil Nadu

After the rock-cut architectural traditions seen till the late 6th Century AD the Shore Temple, on the coast of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, can be well thought of as a pioneer or structured temple architecture in India. Called the Shore Temple, it is said to have been built during the reign of Narsimha Varman II of the Pallava Dynasty, who ruled from 700 to 728 AD.

It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. It is one of the oldest stone temples in South India.

Shore Temple Architecture

A plan of the temple shows that this temple consists of three shrines dedicated to both Shiva as sculptures or the lingam (phallus) and somasakanda (image or Shiva, Parvati and their son, Kartikeya) reveal and Vishnu (depicted by the Vishnu anantasyana) or Vishnu resting on the snake on the primeval waters. The sculpture or Anantasyana was carved in situ from an existing rock.

Access to the shrine is only from the southern side of the circumambulatory passage around the Shiva shrine. The east-facing Shiva shrine must have been the most important as it was the biggest and also boasted or the largest superstructure.

The western shrine of Shiva also had a smaller superstructure, hut the Vishnu shrine had none. There were two entrances through the temple walls on the east as well as the west side. This might have been the beginnings of the monumental gateways (gopuras) or the latter-day.

Southern temples This temple is definitely what is now popularly called 'the southern style temple architecture’, characterized by pyramidal superstructures and plastered walls enclosing the courtyard. Much of the temple is in ruins now due to the action of 1200 years of sea spray and blowing sands but nevertheless, monuments like this one form the very link that maintains the continuity of the great traditions of this country.

Best time to visit Mahabalipuram

November to February

Weather remains pleasant during this period. Travelers can enjoy the place and tourist attractions of Mahabalipuram.

The Indian Dance Festival is held every year from December to January in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. This dance festival is organized by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. This could be the best time when one can plan to visit the Shore temple.

Dance performers perform their dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohini Attam and Kathakali against this grand backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures. The atmosphere becomes superb during the performances.

How to reach Mahabalipuram?

Located at Mamallapuram, previously called Mahabalipuram, a seventh-century Pallava port, the Shore Temple is about 64 kilometers from Madras and can be reached by road through State Tourism Buses or Taxis.

How to reach Mahabalipuram by Air?

Chennai is the nearest airport from Mahabalipuram. It is approx. 45 km from Mahabalipuram.

How to reach Mahabalipuram by Rail?

The nearest railway station is Chennai Railway Station which is 45 km away. Apart from this station, Chengalpattu station is at a distance of 29kms. It is well connected with other cities of Tamil Nadu.

How to reach Mahabalipuram by Road?

Mahabalipuram is well connected by road and has a number of interconnecting roadways to Chennai, Chengalpattu, Pondicherry, and Kanchipuram.