ATTRACTIONS OF MAHABALIPURAM
Shore Temple: As its name suggests, the Shore temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal. Shore temple is an oldest structural monument built in (c. 700 -728 AD) during the reign of the Pallava King Rajasimha. Shore temple is a building not a carved from rock, built with blocks of granite. Most of the current structure is a re-construction after it was struck by a cyclone. A shiva lingam is also enshrined in the central building. It is listed amongst UNESCO world heritage sites since 1984. Over the period of times, carvings of the temple have been eroded by the cyclone or sea wind due to its location, so near the sea Arjunas Penance: Arjuna's Penance, also known as the Descent of the Ganges. A giant bas-relief filled with detailed carvings, including a family of elephants and monkeys. This bas relief, is an extensive panel (27 meters long & 9 meters high of relief sculptures, with life size images. There are two beliefs as to the theme of the sculptures. Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers is said to have done penance asking for a powerful weapon with which to destroy his enemies. The huge gathering of celestials and humans witness the great scene. According to the second belief, it is Bhagiratha's penance to get river Ganges down to the earth. His prayers are answered and Lord Shiva sends the Ganges down to the earth, controlling its rapid flow by allowing it to trickle from his matted locks. The natural cleft in the rock face depicts the flow of Ganga, watched over by celestials and humans. There are several images of animals too.