Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple
Vital Information for Visitors

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Open & Close:

Open on all days: 06:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry Fees:

Indian – INR 10/-

Foreigner – INR 340/- (USD 5)


Approx 1 hr


Built in in 8th Century during Narsimha Varman’s reign.


It’s five storied rock temple.

Many a times Mahabalipuram is synonymous with Shore Temple. Along the shores of the Bay of Bengal, surrounded by lush green trees, accompanied by the pleasant breeze from the sea, lies an architectural delight called the Shore Temple. Built in the 7th Century & full of flavours from the Pallava dynasty, this great magnificent temple is listed under UNESCO World Heritage sites of India. It is said that it was constructed more as work of art, than a place of worship. The purity and calmness of the temple attracts visitors from all around. Its design which one could call ‘poetry in design’ showcases a natural blend of history and richness of art. It is said that the Pallava kings were very keen on putting aesthetics to build temples that can reflect their artistic style. The construction of the great piece of art, Shore Temple, was initiated by King Narasimha Varma, who was also called Mamalla and the city gets its name Mamallapuram (now called Mahabalipuram) after him.

It is said that entire rock-cut five storied structure, Shore Temple, is the first monument that the Pallava dynasty started working on. The temple stands on a naturally occurring granite boulder and has beautifully carved out panels depicting visuals from the everyday life. The complex, erected on a fifty square feet platform, consists of three separate shrines: two dedicated to Lord Shiva, and one to Lord Vishnu. The main shrine, where one can find relics of both Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu, faces the sea, and the inter-connected water channels allow the sea to come in, making it a water shrine. Lord Vishnu is imaged reclining on the ‘Seshanag’, which in Hinduism is a symbol of consciousness. There is a Shivalingam in the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) embracing this magnificent site.

The entire temple complex is covered with beautifully sculpted panels and the artistic work is a testimonial to our nation. The spire of the temple, also known as the ‘Shikhara’, is built in a manner that soars upward, tapering towards the top, which is said to be different from the usual dome structures in most Hindu monuments. To celebrate the piece of art by the skilled artists back in the 7th century and to keep the traditional and cultural roots alive, the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival is held here, sometime in the beginning of every year, usually during January/ February. What a breathtaking sight, to watch folk dancers move to the rhythm of life amidst the tranquility and peace!

Mahabalipuram is believed to be a part of the seven pagodas, six of which have submerged into the sea. Back in the day, this monumental structure by the sea was used as a landmark by the seafarers for navigating their ships. With the tsunami that hit the coastline in 2004, a sister temple was brought into light, which confirmed the pagodas that existed before. Along with it, sculptures of elephants, lions and peacocks were discovered too, which enhanced the beauty of the surroundings. Recently, stone walls have been built around it to protect it from any further damage by natural occurrences.

Another beautiful thing about this uniquely designed temple is that it catches the first rays of the sun at daybreak and that illuminates the water around towards the end of the day. The very well known Percy Brown described this magnificent structure as a ‘landmark by day, beacon by night’. This magnificent rock cut elegance overlooking the sea is truly a breathtaking sight and the best place to catch the glimpses of the first ray of sunlight.

Mahabalipuram Tour Packages

Grand Tour of South India

Grand Tour of South India

21 Nights / 22 Days
Destination : Chennai-Mahabalipuram-Kanchipuram-Pondicherry-Thanjavur-Thanjavur-Trichy-Chettinad- Madurai-Periyar Lake-Aleppey-Kochi-Bangalore-Mysore-Hassan-Hospet-Hampi-Badami-Goa

Leisure Tour of South India

Leisure Tour of South India

12 Nights / 13 Days
Destination : Chennai-Mahabalipuram-Bangalore-Mysore-Bandipur-Coonoor-Ooty-Kochi-Alleppey

Splendours of South India

Splendours of South India

22 Nights / 23 Days
Destination : Chennai-Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry-Thanjavur-Trichy-Madurai-Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Best of South India Tour

Best of South India Tour

16 Nights / 17 Days
Destination : Bangaluru- Hassan – Mysore – Coonoor – Kochi – Kumarakom – Thekkady – Madurai – Trichy- Tanjore – Pondicherry – Mahabalipuram - Chennai

View All

Enquire Now

Enquire Now