Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
Located 60km (37mi) off Chennai, Mahabalipuram (or as commonly called Mamallapuram) is revered as the temple city of South India. It has seen the footfall of thousands of tourists every year and is well connected to the rest of the major cities of the country by road, rail and air.
The place has a historical significance making it one of the most enchanting travel sites of India.
Interesting Facts about Mahabalipuram
• Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• The place was revered as the melting point of art and literature between 3rd and 7th century CE.
• Mahabalipuram was nicknamed as the “land of the Seven Pagodas” by the ancient mariners.
• After excavation, several coins have been discovered which proves the trading relation with the Romans in ancient times.
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
This temple is one of the most regal examples of Indian heritage and is a loved and revered place in India. Located on the shores of Bay of Bengal, the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram was built in the 7th century and today is recognised as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites of India.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva and is divided into three shrines. The most significant of the three shrines is the one where Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped. In the Grabhagriha of the temple, you can find the Shivalingam which seems like embracing the temple. There are two shrines placed at the back of the temple faced opposite to each other. Of the, one is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and while the other highlights the grandeur of Ksatriyasimnesvara. The image of Lord Vishnu is shown as Seshanag who is considered as the symbol of realization as per the Hindu religion.
History of Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
In the early days, the seafarers mistook this temple as pagodas owing to its gigantic tall structure. Then sailors named it as seven pagodas and marked this colossal structure as a sight for navigating their ships.
Narasimha Varma I created this magnificent temple and this artistic work initiated in the 7th century. Narasimha Varma was also known as Mammalla and the place came to be known as Mamallapuram. King Rajasimha, who ruled the place during 700-28 AD contributed to the styling of the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram which initially was carved as monolithic Rathas and the cave temples. King Rajasimha was also known as Narasimhavarman II.
In the last decade, when the Tsunami of 2004 hit the coastline of Coromandel, archaeologists found an ancient temple granite-built temple which had entirely collapsed earlier. Interestingly, one can find the special mention of Mahabalipuram in European diaries as one of the parts of the seven Pagodas. According to many experts, six of the seven Pagodas have gone under the sea. But, with the Tsunami, a few of the ancient sculptures of peacocks, elephants, and lions have come into light which were sculpted to adorn the walls of the structures built during the Pallava dynasty.
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