The Shore Temple (700-728 AD) is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram. As one of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the oldest structural (versus rock-cut) stone temples of South India.
The Shore Temple is a five-storeyed structural Hindu temple rather than rock-cut as are the other monuments at the site. It is the earliest important structural temple in Southern India. Its pyramidal structure is 60 ft high and sits on a 50 ft square platform. There is a small temple in front which was the original porch. It is made out of finely cut local granite.
The temple is a combination of three shrines. The main shrine is dedicated to Shiva as is the smaller second shrine. A small third shrine, between the two, is dedicated to a reclining Vishnu and may have had water channeled into the temple, entering the Vishnu shrine.
The shore temple is also one of the most popular temples. Other Interesting Monuments include that catch a person’s interest are The Ganesha Ratha, the Varaha Cave, the Old Light House, Krishna's Butter Ball, Gopi's Churn, Valayankuttai Ratha and Kodikal Mandapam.