Location: Shores of Coromandel Coast, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Overlooking the shore of the Bay of Bengal, this piece of sculptural excellence stands as an icon of Mahabalipuram. Ruins of a temple, monoliths, rathas (chariots), and many pieces of art chiselled exquisitely out of rocks — every section here deserves appreciation. It is unique and gorgeous and its fascination charm is magical. It is the Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram.
This legendary creation dates back to the 8th Century AD, and was built during by the Pallava King Narasimhavarman II when Mahabalipuram was the trading port of the Pallava Dynasty. The Shore Temple is counted among the oldest stone temples of Southern India and was also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
The Shore Temple consists of of three temples in its complex dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The main temple is a five-storeyed structure dedicated to Lord Shiva and is sculpted out of granite. The key attraction of the Shore Temple are the five chariots or the Pancha Pandava Rathas, four of which are named after the Padavas and the fifth one is known as the Draupadi Ratha. Each of these Rathas is huge and distinct from the others, speaking of the aesthetic excellence of the artisans of that time.
Entry fee for the Shore Temple and the Five Rathas:
- Rs. 10 for Indian citizens
- US$ 5 for foreign nationals
- Free for kids below 15 years
Timings: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Admission to the surrounding monuments is free.
- Still photography is allowed for no extra charge. For videography, one has to pay Rs. 25.
- Sale of entry tickets closes at 5:30 pm.
- Sunrise and sunset add to the scenic charm of the Shore temple. So it is best to visit the temple at dawn and dusk.
- Visit this architectural wonder and explore its inexplicable charm. Don’t forget to carry your camera and you will never get tired of shooting and capturing every bit of it!