Shore Temple | History, Timings & Architecture

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram is a complex of elegant shrines (c. 700 CE). It is one of the many Hindu monuments on the Coromandel Coast in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Shore Temple timings are from 6 am to 6 pm.

It had considered one of the finest examples of medieval South Indian temple architecture. Coastal Temple, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

shore temple mahabalipuram timings

Shore Temple is said to have been built by King Rajasinha and is an excellent example of the first-phase architectural temples built in the Dravidian style.

It was a busy port during the reign of Narasimhavarman II. It has two temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, facing east and west.

History of the shore temple

According to legends, the Shore Temple is one of the seven towers of Mahabalipuram. The seven pagodas are an old Hindu myth. According to history, Prince Hiranyakashipu did not believe in Vishnu.

However, his son Prahladha was a great devotee of Vishnu, which led to the expulsion of Prince Hiranyakashipu from the kingdom.

Prahlad had welcomed shortly after, and he became king. He had a grandson named Bhali, who also founded Mahabalipuram.

After seeing the tallest structure along the coast, the Shore Temple was named ‘Seven Pagodas’. The Temple was a milestone for sailing. Also, the structure is similar to a pagoda and is therefore familiar.

The old distorted Temple was exposed after a tsunami hit the Coromandel Coast in 2004. The Temple is built entirely of granite.

After this incident, news began to circulate that Mahabalipuram was part of the seven towers in the diaries of the Europeans.

It also said that six of the temples had submerged in the sea. The tsunami also brought to light ancient sculptures of elephants, peacocks and lions used to decorate the walls of temples during the Pallava rule in the 7th and 8th centuries.

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Mahabalipuram Shore Temple Architecture

The Shore Temple was the first stone structure built by the Pallavas. Before developing this monument, all the ancient monuments were carved with stones. The magnificent Temple has five floors and a stone structure.

It is one of the most important and ancient temples in South India. The upper part of the Temple had decorated with carvings and sculptures. A stone had also built to provide better protection to the magnificent Temple from sea erosion.

The pyramid structure is 60 feet high and rests on a 50-foot square platform. It beautifully showcases the Dravidian architectural style and the glorious history that blends wonderfully.

shore temple mahabalipuram

It was designed to capture the rising sun’s first rays and water after sunset, which, according to Percy Brown, served as a landmark during the day and a beacon at night. Pavilions and compound walls surround the great Temple.

The rock-cut of the lion had cut into a small square at its belly along with two young women on the walls of the Temple. Near this majestic Temple is a large stone that has been in waves for many years.

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

On the north side, the carving of the buffalo ghost is also with a stick in his hand. The Shore temple looks like a chariot when viewed from a distance.

The three Shore temples had perched on the same platform. View from the north, these temples look like perfect imitations of the Dharmaraja chariot.

The main Shore temple is on the east side, where the sun rays fall on the main deity of the Shivalingam, which is not just a stone but an ancient Hindu structure. The Temple was built of carved granite stones taken from a nearby quarry.

In front is a small temple, the original porch made of finely chopped local granite. The Temple is also one of the most famous temples.

Recent excavations have revealed that many structures that did not come to light are still lying under the sand.

Best time to visit

Considering the weather, the perfect time to visit the Shore temple is October to March. The best time to watch the Temple is usually in the evening/morning.

Also, January/February are the best time to participate in the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival. Sunrise and sunset add to the Temple’s charm, so the Temple should visit at dawn and dusk.

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Shore Temple Timings

The Shore temple timings are from 6 am to 6 pm.

Shore temple timings open at 6 am and close at 6 pm. Devotees can visit the Temple for Darshan from 8 am to 5 pm.

Tips for Visiting the Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

  1. Still, Photography had granted at no extra charge. However, for videos, you have to pay INR 25.
  2. Take a camera to capture the beauty of this magnificent Temple.
  3. The admission ticket sale closes at 5:30 pm.
  4. Devotees can visit surrounding monuments for free.
Shore Temple Nearby Restaurants
  • Sea Shore garden beach restaurant
  • Sunrise Pizzeria & Guest House
  • Bambino Beach Restaurant
  • The Wharf Restaurant
  • Moonrakers
  • Le Yogi Restaurant
  • Latitude 49

Top 4 places you must visit in Mahabalipuram

Arjuna penance

A vast open sculpture depicts the various events during Arjuna’s penance. The relief had carved on two large stones about 43 feet high, on top of which was a large collection pool in ancient times.


One of the 108 Divine Lands or Temples of Lord Vishnu. The Pallavas, in the 8th Century BC, built the Thirukadalmalai or Sthalashana Perumal Temple. Divya Deshas are 108 temples of Lord Vishnu, built by Tamil Alvars or saints.

Cave temples

Mahabalipuram has eight rock-cut cave temples built by the Pallava kings in the 7th century. The temples have many thinly cut stone pillars. Various stone sculptures described various Hindu deities and were considered the finest works of Indian art.

Pancha Rathas

The delicate Pancha Rathas designed in the form of open-air rock-cut reliefs and five chariots named after the Pandavas from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. All of the carved monoliths had carved with pink granite, and the tallest of them is 40 feet high.

How to Reach


The town of Mahabalipuram in the Kanchipuram district had well connected to other parts of the country by roads.


The Temple locates at a distance of 27.2 km from the Otivakkam Railway Station and


The Temple locates 59.2 km from the Chennai International Airport. This distance can cover by bus or cab services.


Mahabalipuram Shore Temple, Tamil Nadu 603104

Tollfree No: 1800-425-31111 (Within India only).