The Seashore Temple in Mahabalipuram – Experience the Finesse of Art
The Seashore Temple in Mahabalipuram is one of the standing testimonials to the royal heritage of India. If you ever plan to explore Southern India or the state of Tamil Nadu, write the name of this Mahabalipuram temple on top of your list. One can easily reach the Shore Temple via taxi of buses available at frequent intervals from anywhere in the state. You can reach to the nearest airport of Chennai, only 60 kilometers from Mahabalipuram and drive to the temple. Standing on the shores of Bay of Bengal, it is one of the most shot places by photographers visiting the place from across the world.
Here’s a brief about the gigantic Seashore Temple:
Location – Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu
Shrines of – Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva
Significance – Enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
How to Reach – Regular buses and taxis from any part of Tamil Nadu
Best time to visit – Throughout the year. Best time of the day is during sunrise and sunset
Timing – 6.00am to 6.00pm
Entry charges – 10INR for Indians, $5 for Foreigners and free for children below 15 years.
Constructed in the 7th century, the temple describes the royalty of the Pallavas. During the construction, Pallava art was at its peak under the reign of Rajasimha. Standing since centuries now, the structural monument has been a living witness of several historical events in the country. The brilliance behind its architecture made it count among UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Pallavas and Mahabalipuram
During the early history of India, Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram was a significant port town and was observed as an important center for art under the guardianship of Pallava rulers. Narshimhavarman I ruled the region for almost 38 years and earned the epithet “Mamalla” signifying “great warrior”. From his reign in 630 C.E., he sponsored several rock-cut monuments in Mahabalipuram such as monolithic temples, giant sculptures from boulder carvings and cave shrines. Primarily, the Pallavas were devotees of Lord Shiva but also worshipped other Hindu deities.
History of the Mahabalipuram Temple
The first glance of the temple was caught by the seafarers when the massive structure appeared as pagodas to them on the shore. It is the view that made the sailors name it seven pagodas as the gigantic monument served as a navigating sight for their ships. The beautiful artistic temple is an outcome of the art work initiated by Narashimavarman I in the 7th century. The artistic creation started from the cave temples and monolithic Rathas. The credit of the sophistication and style of the massive temple’s architecture goes to the King Rajashimha also given the name Narshimhavarman II of the Pallava Empire during his reign from 700 AD to 728 AD.
When the Tsunami hit the Coromandel Coast in December 2004, it brought the temple into light which was by then completely collapsed and was rebuilt with granite blocks. Out of the many speculations about Mahabalipuram, one states it to be a part of the seven pagodas mentioned in the European diaries. As believed, the other 6 Pagodas are submerged in the sea.
Architecture of Shore Temple
There is a lot to depict when it comes to Shore temple’s architecture. It is considered to be the first stone structure built by the Pallavas. Before the construction of the Seashore temples in Mahabalipuram, the monuments or structures were carved out of stones and rocks. The Shore Temple is a rock-cut structural monument standing high to 5 stories more willing than monolithical. The exceptional architecture is the most significant and earliest among the structural temples in Southern India. The spire is exclusively decorated with sculptures and carvings. Recently, a stone wall is built as a protection of the shrines against sea erosions in future.
Settled on a foundation of 50 feet, the huge pyramidal temple rises to a height of 60 feet. This reflects a beautiful example of Dravidian style of architecture. The Seashore Temple of Mahabalipuram is perfect combination of natural splendor and history. The design of the temple was an intention to capture the early morning sun rays (rising sun) and to bring the waters into limelight post sunset.
If you are a traveler and explorer at heart, do make a visit to the massive and beautiful Seashore Temple in Mahabalipuram. Find cheap flight tickets at Indian Eagle