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.
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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.
– prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @