The beautiful Shore temple is a two-towered structure built in the 7th century. This impressive temple is a World Heritage Monument. There are actually two temples, one facing east and one facing west. The one facing east is a Lord Siva temple with a Siva-linga.
The other temple is a Vishnu temple with a 2.5m Maha-Vishnu sleeping on Ananta Sesa carved onto a granite boulder, facing east. Lord Vishnu’s pastimes are carved on the outer wall of the Vishnu temple. A wall has been built around these temples to protect them from the ocean. These temples are one km from town, right next to the ocean. The Rs 5 admission also includes the Five Rathas.
Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) The Five Rathas are named after the five Pandava brothers and their wife Draupadi, the heroes of the Mahabharata. They do not have anything to do with the Pandavas, and are not really chariots.
Actually they are unfinished monolithic temples carved in the 7th century from large granite boulders. They are located about one km from the center of town, past the lighthouse. There is nothing around them. The Dharmaraja Ratha is shaped like a pyramid and is 10.5m by 9m and 10.5m high (35 by 29 and 35 ft high). It has many detailed carvings on it. There are sculptures of Ardhanariswara (Siva and a female as one person), Harihara (Vishnu and Siva combined), Brahma, and King Narasimha Varman I.
The Bhima Ratha has a wagon-shaped roof and is north of the Dharmaraja Ratha. It is 7.8m by 7.5m and 14.5m high (26 by 25 and 48 ft high). Its bottom level is incomplete, except for the lions. The Arjuna Ratha contains Vishnu and his carrier, Garuda. It is 8m by 9m and 10.5m high (27 by 29 and 35 ft high). It has carvings of Indra with his elephant.
Behind the Arjuna Ratha is an excellent sculpture of Nandi, Siva’s bull carrier. The Draupadi Ratha, which is dedicated to Durga, and the Sahadeva Ratha are the smallest temples. Near the Sahadeva Ratha is a life-size sculpture of an elephant.
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