Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

Saivite Temples, Chengalpet Taluk


Kshatriyasimheswara, facing east



Other Deities

Rajasimheswara, Mahavishnu, Somaskanda, Brahma, Vishnu, Garuda, Varaha, Durga

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is believed to be one of the 7 Pagodas mentioned by ancient European mariners which have been submerged by the ocean. This is a twin temple with Kshatriyasimheswara in the large east facing shrine and Rajasimheswara in the smaller west facing shrine. Mahavishnu in his reclining form is in between the two shrines. The Lingam in the east facing 4 storeyed shrine is a 16 sided one. The smaller shrine has 3 stories. The whole temple complex is enclosed in a wall with Nandi idols all around on top. Ongoing excavations on land and adjoining sea are revealing more relics.

Holy Water (Theertham) – No information

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – No information


Shore Temple Mahabalipuram was built between 700–728 CE during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty. The place was an important and busy sea port in those days. According to two inscriptions found here in the smaller Shiva temple, the names of the three temples are Kshatriyasimha Pallaveshvara-griham, Rajasimha Pallaveshvara-griham and Pllikondaruliya-devar. The entire temple complex is called as Jalashayana (lying in water). An inscription on the lintel of the Vishnu shrine also mentions this as Narapatisimha Pallava Vishnu Griha, Narapatisimha being a title of Narasimhavarman II also called Rajasimha.


Prahlada whose father Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha Avatar, became the king after him and had a grandson named Bali. Bali is believed to have founded Mahabalipuram. Another legend is that the Gods were jealous of the architectural elegance of the monuments of Shore Temple Mahabalipuram and caused floods to occur and submerge the ancient city.


Shore Temple Mahabalipuram is about 60 kilometers south of Chennai and about 30 kilometers west of Chengalpet. The temple is right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.

Stay and Food

A few good restaurants are available in Mahabalipuram. Resorts and restaurants are available all along the East Coast Road.

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