Feb 27, 2017: Shore temple is a water shrine where canals bring sea water to the temple, is nestled in the small village of Mahabalipuram 60 kms from Chennai, facing the Bay of Bengal.
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Shore temple is a fine example of Dravidian architecture and Buddhist architectural influences, a 60 feet, 5-storied Hindu temple with shikhara, gopuram, and carvings of animals, made out of local granite, whereas other temples of that period are made out of rocks.
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The main shrine has remnants of Shiv and Vishnu, the temple is believed to have been built as a site of art rather than a site of worship.
Built during the 7th-8th century during the reign of the Pallava king Rajasimha and later continued by the Chola dynasty, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984.
In 2004 when the tsunami struck Southern India, parts of the temple were affected. Wind and seawater have also corroded some parts. Recently a stonewall has been constructed to protect it from seawater.
This picturesque site also hosts the International Dance Festival, a month-long festival showcasing diverse forms of classical dance and art, promoted by the Tourism Department of Tamil Nadu, held every year during January-December.
About 60% of polled vacationers rate travel experiences as more important than material possessions. Curated experiences rank high on the list of voyagers this year and in 2019, the trend is expected to continue according to an independent survey commissioned by Booking.com. If you are planning a trip to India, there are several experiences that you should not miss from checking in at a luxurious royal hotel and estate tea visits to temple tours and mountain sun rise excursions.
Arrange a Yoga Retreat
The country is a dream destination for yogis with many places to choose from. A yoga retreat might just be what you need to relax and discover your inner self. A relaxing vacation is not only rejuvenating but also offers a glimpse of a different lifestyle.
While the practice of yoga in the West focuses on physical postures and sequences, a yoga retreat in India offers benefits by emphasizing breathing, meditation and cleansing. In addition, you’ll be exposed to devotional practices such as chanting and karma yoga. A typical retreat consists of an inclusive stay at specialist accommodation such as a hotel, yoga camp or school but if you want to save on accommodation costs, you can just drop in daily or sign-up for shorter courses.
Go on a Tour of the River Ganges
To continue your spiritual journey, organize a tour of the Ganges, the third largest river that flows through the country. Named after the Hindu goddess, Ganga, it is one of the most sacred places in India with religious festivities and burial rites taking place at the river’s banks. Pilgrims come from far to cleanse themselves with the holy water in the Ganges.
The river starts at the Himalayas and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Ganges River while on a cruise. If you have the opportunity, sign-up for a walking tour along the Ganges in Varanasi.
Get Up Close with Hindu Gods
With over 2 million Hindu temples in India, deciding where to go might prove difficult. But if you want to cover the most temples during your visit, head to the state of Tamil Nadu. It is not for nothing that it is known as the ‘Land of the Temples’ boasting of almost 33,000 ancient places of worship. In total, there are 38,615 temples according to the Tamil Nadu Hindu Endowments Board.
Marvel at the Brihadishvara Temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and features exceptional architecture. Don’t forget the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai decked with thousands of colorful figures of gods, animals and demons.
India is steeped in culture and history. With so many things to offer its visitors, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to unique travel experiences that cater to your senses and personal preferences.