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Overview :The Shore Temple located in Mahabalipuram is dedicated to God Shiva. The Shore Temple is named so because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal and is situated just on the shores. The structural temple built with blocks of granite, dates back to the 8th Century AD. The temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is built with blocks of granite. It was built on a rock that juts into the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu. The village was a busy port in the 7th and 8th Century Pallava Reign Narasimhavarman 11. The Shore Temple is a five-storeyed structural Hindu temple, that stands out from the surrounding monuments at the site.About the Temple :The shore temple comprises three temples. It was all built by the Pallava Dynasty when it was the trading port of the dynasty, and was constructed with sculpted granite stones that are hauled from a nearby quarry. It is among the earliest and most important structural temples in South India. The pyramidal structure is high and it sits on a square platform. There is a temple in front, made out of finely cut local granite. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva as is the smaller second shrine. There is also a third shrine. The two Shiva shrines are orthogonal in configuration. Shikharas have a pyramidal outline, each individual tier is distinct with overhanging eaves that cast dark shadows. The outer wall of the periphery are extensively sculpted. The temple's outer walls are divided by pilasters into bays, the lower part being carved into a series of rearing lions. The mandapa is surrounded by a heavy outer wall with little space between for circumambulation. The inner shrine dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara is reached through a passage while the other, dedicated to Vishnu , is facing outwards. The Durga is seated on her lion vahana.All the three temples of the shore temple complex are built on the sample platform. Viewed from the northern end, the temple represents the Dharmaraja Ratha. Built with sculpted granite stones hauled from a nearby quarry, it is the earliest important structural temple in South India. Its pyramidal structure is 60ft high and sits on a 50 ft square platform. There is a small temple in front which was the original porch. The temple is made out of finely cut local granite. The Temple is a combination of three shrines, the main shrine is dedicated to God Shiva as is the smaller second shrine. A small third shrine, between the two, is dedicated to a reclining God Vishnu and may have had water channeled into the temple, entering the Vishnu shrine. The two Shiva shrines are orthogonal in configuration and the entrance through a transverse barrel vault Gopuram.The Temple's two shikharas have a pyramidal outline, each individual tier is distinct with overhanging eaves that cast dark shadows. The outer wall of the Vishnu shrine and the inner boundary wall are extensively sculptured and topped by large sculpture s of Nandi. The Temple has a The temple's outer walls are divided by plasters into baysthe lower part being carved into a series of rearing lions. The temple has a garbhagriha in which the deity Sivalinga is enshrined and a small mandapa surrounded by a heavy outer wall with little space between for circumambulation. At the rear are two shrines facing opposite directions. The inner shrine dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara is reached through a passage while the other, dedicated to Vishnu faces the outside.The Shore Temples configuration of the two Shiva shrines with the small Vishnu shrine in between illustrates an attempt to balance the different competing religious subsects. The Vishnu temples were built by Narasimha Varman I and the other two were built by Narasimha Varman II. One can find the beautifully carved twin Dwarka Palaks (gate keepers) at the entrance of the east facing Shiva temples. On both sides of the temple inside are the marvellous sculptures of God Brahma and God Vishnu with their better halves. The top part of the Shivalinga figure inside the temple is found damaged. There are sculptures of "Somaskanda"" God Shiva with his better half Parvati and his sons Skanda and Ganesha are found on the nearby wall. Apart from God Shiva's sculpture one can find the sculptures of Narasimha and Goddess Durga also. The central shrine is in the form of a rectangle. It has a magnificent statue of God Vishnu which is known as Sthala Shayana Perumal or Ananthasayana which means 'sleeping Vishnu'.About The deity :God Shiva also known as Mahadev is one of the main deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme god within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism.Lord Shiva is usually found as a linga, which represents the energies for life on both microcosmic and macrocosmic levels. In a Shiva temple, the linga is placed in the center, under the spire. It symbolizes the naval of the earth.Legend :The Shore Temple was originally a set of 7 temples, which in ancient times was referred to as the "Seven Pagodas" by sea faring sailors who would use it as a landmark for navigation of their ships. This structural temple complex was the culmination of the architectural creations that were initiated by the King Narasimha Varma I (popularly called as Mammalla after whom the Mamallapuram town is named), in mid 7th century starting with the Cave temples and the monolithic Rathas. The Temple was built by Narasimha Pallava 1 and was subsequently improvised by his descendant Narasimha 11.Ancient Legends referred to the origin of these pagodas in mythical terms. Prince Hiranyakasipu who refused to worship God Vishnu, had a son Prahalad who was a big devotee of God Vishnu. Hiranyakasipu banished Prahlada but then relented and allowed him to come home. Father and son quickly began to argue about Vishnu’s nature. When Prahlada stated that Vishnu was present everywhere, including in the walls of their home, his father kicked a pillar. Vishnu emerged from the pillar in the form of a man with a lion’s head, and killed Hiranyakasipu. Prahlada eventually became the king, and had a son named Bali. Bali founded Mahabalipuram on this site. Myths also mention that Gods were jealous of the architectural elegance of the monuments of Mahablipuram, and as a result they caused floods to occur, which submerged most parts of the city, except for a few structures that are seen now.Significance :The devotees go to this temple to seek blessing of both Shiva and Vishnu at once and also for attaining peace.How to get there or Accessibility :Air, Chennai is the nearest airport and if you wish to take a tour to Mahabalipuram then drop into the Chennai Airport. Chennai is 45 km from Mahabalipuram. Rail: The nearest railway station is Chennai Railway Station which is at a distance of 45 kms. Chengalpattu is another station which is at a distance of 29kms and is well connected with other cities in Tamil Nadu.Road: Mahabalipuram is connected by a number of interconnecting roadways to Chennai, Chengalpattu, Pondicherry and Kanchipuram.Rare Fact :The peculiarity about this particular temple is that Vishnu reclines on the floor listening silently to the sounds of names. The figure of Vishnu is found in segments which are to be looked through various doors. The other sculpture is portrayed in such a way that God Vishnu seated in mount Garuda helping Gajendra the elephant found in the southern wall and the northern wall is the portrayals from the life of God Krishna. The grand temple is surrounded by mandapams and compound walls. There is a rock - cut image of a lion being ridden by two young women. The lion has a small square cut in its belly. There is also a carving of a buffalo demon running with a stick in his hand located in the northern side. The temple looks beautiful with lights during weekend evenings.

Significance

Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-

  • To be blessed by Shiva and Vishnu at once
  • For peace
Shlokas

Daivi Hyesa Gunamayi Mama Maya Duratyaya Mameva Ye Prapadyante Mayametam Taranti Te

Meaning -According to this sloka, the heavenly maya of God is very complicated, but those who worship God will be able to overcome it.

Balam Balavatam Caham Kamaragavivarjitam Dharmaviruddho Bhutesu Kamo'smi Bharatarsabha

Meaning -According to this sloka, God is the isolated and aloof strength of the controlling and virtuous craving in men.

Ye Caiva Sattvika Bhava Rajasastamasasca Ye Matta Everti Tanviddhi Na Tvaham Tesu Temayi

Meaning -According to this sloka, though the only source of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obsessive and dark) elements is God, they are not present within the God or the deity.

Tribhirgunamayairbhavairebhih Sarvamidam Jagat Mohitam Nabhijanati Mamebhyah Paramavyayam

Meaning -According to this sloka, the entire world doesn't recognize the eternal God beyond them, because they are consumed by the elements of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obssessive and dark).

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