Mahabalipuram Temple- 15 Incredible Facts You Should Know

Mahabalipuram Temple is located near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the Shore Temple. The whole structure is constructed using granite. This beautiful structure was built during 700-128 AD. 
The Shore Temple has got its name as “Seven Pagodas” which indicates the existence of 7 temples from the past. During the time of the Pallava Dynasty, it was a popular trading port. Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is one of the oldest cities in India. This small village is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tamil Nadu. 

The Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held every year during Dec-Jan at Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. This dance festival is organized by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Exponents of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohini Attam, and Kathakali perform against this magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures. 

Present-day, it is known for its great monuments, cave sanctuaries, and sculptures. Mahabalipuram is famous for its vast beach, monoliths, stone carvings, and temples. Ideal for school/college excursions from the nearby cities. 

Also, ideal for people interested in regional history and architecture. Extremely well-maintained tourist spots, knowledgeable tour guides are easily available.

Entry Timings: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm
Entry Fee: INR 10 for Indian citizens; INR 250 for others, no fee for visitors below age 15
No fee for still photography, INR 25 for videography

History of Mahabalipuram Temple
Mahabalipuram was founded by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman-I in the 7th century AD. The mandapa or pavilions and the rathas or shrines were shaped as temple chariots are hewn from the granite rock face. The famed Shore Temple, erected half a century later, is built from dressed stone.

It is also believed that after Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu’s avatar Prahalad became the king. It is said that Prahalad’s son Bali founded this temple. Once ruled by the Pallavas, famed for their excellent architecture and sculptures, Mahabalipuram has a beautiful rock-cut monument that draws architects, history enthusiasts, and travelers from around the world. Mahabalipuram is famous for its vast beach, monoliths, stone carvings, and temples. True, you mustn’t miss these while in Mahabalipuram. But the port city has more to offer to those who love to explore.

Who built Mahabalipuram temple?
The construction of the Mahabalipuram Temple was started during the rule of Narsimhavarman II. Later Cholas completed this massive temple. Mahabalipuram Temple is a complicated structure consisting of 3 temples – One big temple and two small temples. In that two temples have pyramid-shaped gopura (temple tower).

Mahabalipuram Temple
Mahabalipuram Temples
Was Mahabalipuram a city under the sea?
Many think that the Shore temple Mahabalipuram suffered from a great flood between 10,000 and 13,000 BCE. Controversial historian Graham Hancock is one of the core members of a team of divers from the Indian National Institute of Oceanography and the Scientific Exploration Society based in Dorset, UK. He surveyed the ocean bed near Mahabalipuram in 2002 A.D. He is more inclined to believe the flood theory. His exploration also afforded him a fair glimpse of the vast extent of submerged ruins of the city.

Who are the deities inside the Mahabalipuram Temple?
The Mahabalipuram Temple has three shrines, devoted to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The pyramidal structure is 60 feet (18 m) high and sits on a 50 feet (15 m) square platform. In the Garbha Griha, the Sanctum has a Shivalinga that is being worshipped.

Also, it has two shrines. One shrine is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and the other to Lord Vishnu. The images on the sculpted panels illustrate scenes from everyday life in an incredibly real and artistic style.

The festival was organized to promote traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram Temple. Two shrines in the Mahabalipuram Temple are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 3rd and the small temple are dedicated to the Vishnu temple. This depicts the blend of religious ideologies from the past.

The inner walls of the mandapa contain images of the gods Brahma and Vishnu, and the outer north wall of the sanctum includes more sculptures of Shiva as well as a depiction of the goddess Durga. The small Shiva shrine faces west and has a square plan with a sanctum and two mandapas.

Carvings on Mahabalipuram Temples
The Architecture of Mahabalipuram Temple
According to a stone inscription in the Mahabalipuram Temple, the three temples are named Kshatriyasimha Pallaveshwara – griham, Rajasimha, and Pllikondaruliya – devar.

The granite rock-cut carvings are proof of the sheer brilliance of the artisans who have created this magnificent structure. The stone carving is proof of sheer brilliance by the artesian.

This was built on a 50 feet square platform; it has a pyramidal structure rising to the height of 60 feet. The temple depicts the beauty of Dravidian Temple architecture. The temple has interior and exterior that are beautifully carved. The temple has a five-storeyed structure out of granite dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The Scenic Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram
The Scenic Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram, the shore temple, is one of the oldest cities in India. Present-day, it is known for its great monuments, cave sanctuaries, and sculptures.

Mahabalipuram is a tourism hotspot for visitors to Tamil Nadu. The town is home to several beaches and stone temples, sculptures, and monoliths, most of which were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984.

The sites are all maintained by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI). Most of the temples and sculptures in the town were carved by sculptors during the Pallava era under the reign of Narasimhavarman and his successor, Rajasimhavarman following his death.

Despite being the home to scores of sculptures and temples, only a few monuments can be visited by tourists. Most of the structures are believed to be submerged underwater, either due to repeated floods during or rising sea levels.

The temples and sculptures have all been hewn from stones and granite and have withstood the ravages of time to date. Also, you can visit this temple in January to visit the festival that is being organized in the temple. The monuments of Mamallapuram are excellent specimens of Dravidian temple architecture and Pallava art. Although considered a tourist destination, it’s still not that well known so is fairly quiet.

Recently, Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi and Chinese PM Mr.Xi Jinping visited places like Arjuna’s Penance, Pancha Rathas and Shore Temple.

How to reach Mahabalipuram Temple?
The town is easily reached in two hours from Chennai, along the East Coast Road. It’s possible to take a local bus, cab, or auto-rickshaw there. App-based Uber operates intercity services. It may cost 1,000 rupees one way.

Local buses are excellent in Tamil Nadu and highly recommended for budget travel. The fare is about 30 rupees from Chennai. The nearest railway station to Mamallapuram is at Chengalpattu (Chingleput), 29 kilometers (18 miles) northwest.

Airway: The closest airport from Mahabalipuram is the Chennai International Airport in Meenambakkam, Chennai. At a distance of 61 km from the city, this airport is convenient to travel to as it takes about 1 hour to reach this place. Buses and taxis are easily available to reach Mahabalipuram.

Roadway: You can find direct cabs from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. The minimum time taken by a cab from Chennai is 51m. The cheapest way to reach Chennai to Mahabalipuram is a cab to Mahabalipuram and takes 51m. The fastest way to reach Chennai to Mahabalipuram is a cab to Mahabalipuram and takes 51m.

Railway: Nearest train station to Mamallapuram is Chengalpattu Junction. It connects Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu by express and mail trains. On arrival at the station, one can hire a cab to travel a distance of around 29 km to reach Mamallapuram.

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