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Shore Temple

Witness fine Pallavan architecture and ornate shrines to Hindu gods at this gorgeous seaside temple, which is at its most beautiful at sunset.

The Shore Temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal and is an attractive sight on the Mahabalipuram shorefront. The name of this finely carved structure derives from its proximity to the sea, being situated on the sands of Mahabalipuram beach. Study the weathered façades, marvel at sculptures of the temple’s patron Hindu gods and gaze at the pyramidal towers as they reflect the golden rays of sunset.

The Shore Temple was built in the 8th century under the reign of King Rajasimha of the Pallava dynasty. This landmark, which features Dravidian stone cut building techniques, is one of India's oldest temples. It has been under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984.

The Shore Temple is comprised of three shrines, one large and two small ones. Admire the two ornate pyramidal towers, which rise above them and feature elaborately carved tiers capped by domes.

The three shrines are dedicated to the Hindu deities, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Ksatriyasimnesvara. Stop by each one and see carved tributes to the gods, including a depiction of Lord Vishnu resting on a the holy serpent Seshanag. This is a Hindu symbol of consciousness.

At the main shrine, the sanctum sanctorum, see the repeated sculpted figures of Nandi, Shiva's bull companion on the walls surrounding the temple. Venture inside for the Shiva Linga, a phallic sculpture symbolizing the presence of Shiva. Elsewhere in the grounds is a partly sculpted monolith of a lion.

The temple's beautiful designs serve as a backdrop for the yearly Mahabalipuram Dance Festival. Visit in December and January to see many traditional dance performances in this scenic locale.

The Shore Temple is approximately 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from central Mahabalipuram. Arrive by rental car, taxi, bus, rickshaw or on foot. The site is open daily from early morning until early evening and there is an admission fee. If you are here on a Sunday, browse the stalls of the nearby street market. Then enjoy a lazy meander on the beach.

Popular Activities at Shore Temple

It's worth giving yourself loads of time at Shore Temple. Below are some of the top activities:

Why not consider purchasing a Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram Private Full-Day Tour with Lunch? It's one of the most popular activities on offer here.

Check out our Mahabalipuram Beach things to do page to discover even more activities while you're here.


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Lodging Near Shore Temple

See all 690 Properties near Shore Temple
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram $104
Reviewed on May 17, 2019
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Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

57, Covelong Road, Kanchipuram District, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
     
    4.3 of 5
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    I like the boogie service, all staff very kind and helpful.need to focus on amenities, some are charged which could be offered free

    Oceanside Hotel Mahabalipuram $30
    Reviewed on Jun 10, 2019
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    Oceanside Hotel Mahabalipuram

    Oceanside Hotel Mahabalipuram

    15, Othavadai Cross Street, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
       
      5.0 of 5
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      They keep their property clean. not gougeous, lucurious, but enough for staying comfortable.

      OYO 23398 Sri Murugan Beach Paradise $42
      OYO 23398 Sri Murugan Beach Paradise

      OYO 23398 Sri Murugan Beach Paradise

      19,Karunkuzhi Amman Street, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Mahabalipuram Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mamallapuram Beach, Krishna's Butterball, and Ganesha Ratha. Varaha Cave Temple and Descent Of The Ganges are also within 15 minutes.

        Nirvana Boutique Hotel $31
        Reviewed on Jan 28, 2019
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        Nirvana Boutique Hotel

        Nirvana Boutique Hotel

        Plot no 28,29 GKM street mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
           
          4.4 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          A very calm and quiet hotel. They just need to maintain more in the sector of the Bathrooms. That was the only putoff...

          OYO 16067 The Orient Hotel $38
          Reviewed on Sep 2, 2018
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          OYO 16067 The Orient Hotel

          OYO 16067 The Orient Hotel

          17, Othavadai Street, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
             
            2.0 of 5
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Hotel was below average. Complimentary breakfast is limitted.

            Hotel Mahabs $39
            Reviewed on Nov 27, 2018
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            Hotel Mahabs

            Hotel Mahabs

            No. 68 East Raja Street, Behind SBI-ATM, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
               
              3.8 of 5
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              A very good hotel by budget standards. Good room with balcony, wifi and hot shower. Pool and sunbeds. Reasonable restaurant. In the town, yet close to beach and tourist attractions. Staff very helpful and friendly.

              Vinodhara Guesthouse
              Reviewed on Dec 9, 2018
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              Vinodhara Guesthouse

              Vinodhara Guesthouse

              No.9 Othavadai cross street, Mahabalipuram, TN
                 
                3.5 of 5
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Nice place, great location, very helpful staff

                Indeco Mahabalipuram
                Reviewed on Jan 24, 2018
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                Indeco Mahabalipuram

                Indeco Mahabalipuram

                Shore Temple Road, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram District, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
                   
                  3.4 of 5
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  InDeco is an amazing idea--- half local history half a beautiful social experiment to help people and animals. This property is not as fabulously interesting as the original InDeco at Swamimalai although fun and funky, and the food is superior. The location-- within seeing distance of the Shore Temple-- ...