The tour of Mahabalipuram is not complete without a visit to the famous Shore Temple. This imposing temple is located away from other rock cut shrines. As the name suggests it is on the shore of Bay of Bengal. It is built sometime during the period of Pallava King Rajasimha (700 - 728 A.D.). It is one of the earliest structural temple in Southern part of India, very different from other rock-cut monuments in this place.
The temple has 3 sanctuaries and they are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The pyramidal structure is 60 ft high and sits on a 50 ft square platform. The roofs of the temple are capped by finials indicating that the temple was complete and functional.
Underneath the towers the walls of the temple are mostly plain except for the engaged columns that are carved with lion bases. At the top of the compound walls around the temple there are large sculptures of Nandi.
There is a huge rock-cut of sculpture of a lion rode by two young women in the temple premises. The lion has a small a square shaped cut in its belly with the carving of Goddess Durga.
This temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage.