Shore Temple in the coastal town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu is a mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple built by the Pallava Dynasty dating back to the 8th century A.D. is one of the best examples of temple architecture in South India. Mahabalipuram, also known as Mammalapuram was a busy port during the Pallavas rule with evidence of trade with Romans as well.
According to Hindu mythology, an Asura king named Mahabali was said to have ruled these shores who was later slained by the Hindu God, Vishnu in one of his avatars called Vamana Avatar. Hence, the name, Mahabalipuram. Later the port flourished under the Pallava king, King Narsimhavarman II also titled Mammalla for being a famous wrestler and the place was named after him.
An entry fee of INR 50 for Indian citizens and INR 500 is charged for foreigners to visit the temple. Shore Temple is also called so because of its location near the shore, although due to the shifting of sands through centuries, it is now located a bit away from the actual shore. But the beach area is still visible from the temple complex.
Stories of Hindu mythology are out in the rocks and caves with each one having its own tale. According to historical sources, seven such temples were initially constructed and this is the lone survivor. All the others are believed to be submerged in the seas. This temple built-in the 7th century is truly a masterpiece.
A paste made of shells, honey, eggs, lemons, and sand was used in place of cement as the binding agent giving the walls a distinct look. The temple is built on the shore in such a way that the first rays of the rising sun fall on the Shiva Lingam on the eastern side of the temple. Around the sanctum of the temple from all sides.
The temple complex which was built centuries ago still standing tall today is testimony enough of its timelessness. But the effect of nature has taken some toll on the beautiful sculptures and some of them have eroded.
This marvelous temple architecture of South India is a must visit for all the history lovers and could be a perfect day trip from either Chennai or Pondicherry.
Till then- KEEP TRAVELLING. KEEP WANDERING.