All those architectural lovers who are seeking for an exclusive combination of history and natural splendor, will certainly find the Shore temple a stunning monument. The temple is no more a living temple, because the ritual ceremonies were ended in the 19th century. But it is a highly frequented site in Mahabalipuram because of its incredible real and artistic sculptures. This monument, on the shores of Bay of Bengal, showcases the royal taste of the Pallava dynasty. Standing tall as a testimonial to the regal heritage of India, the Shore temple is recognized and listed amongst the 'World Heritage Sites' by UNESCO.
Shore Temple is the oldest temple based on the Dravidian style architecture. This ancient temple of south India looks stunningly beautiful in the moonlight. It belongs to the early 8th century AD and is acknowledged for being the first stone structure made by Pallavas. Otherwise, all the monuments used to be carved out of the rocks or stones. This five storeyed temple is simply a masterpiece made by the Pallava Kings, who were known to be the great patrons of art and were keen to create their own style of temple architecture.
The temple has three shrines, out of which the most prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The image of Shivalingam is established in the garbha-griha (sanctum sanctorum), while the shrines of Ksatriyasimnesvara and Lord Vishnu are found facing each other at the rear end. The idol of Lord Vishnu, reclining on the Seshanag, is a symbol of consciousness in Hinduism. The walls of the shrine of Lord Vishnu are intricately carved and sculptured.
Apart from depicting the typical Pallava architectural grandeur, the temple hosts the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival in the month of January/February every year. The festival not only promotes the traditional dance of the region but also promotes tourism in Mahabalipuram.