Tags : temples
The 8th century Shore Temple is one of the most prominent sites in the Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) complex of rock-cut temples. The Shore Temple compound has three structural temples and a few rock cut sculptures, one temple having a very tall pyramidal tower. It is situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Local elders believe that there are five more similar temples now under water. The five stone temples in Mahabalipuram sculpted out of rocks one behind the other came to be called as Pancharatha. It is very interesting to note that the style of each temple is different and becomes a catalogue of the temple styles of the time. It was built during the Pallava king Narasimhavarman II. The temple is a dedicated to 2 Shiva shrines and 1 Vishnu shrine (Anantashayi Vishnu), to balance the religious beliefs. The biggest Shiva temple faces the east, and on the inner wall of its ardha-mandapa, on the south side, is a beautiful wall panel sculpture of Lord Brahma, shown with three heads. The temple is made from granite blocks. The Shore Temple is just one of the attractions in Mamallapuram. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. Mahabalipuram and also the Shore Temple are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Shore Temple is in danger of sea erosion.