Mahabalipuram Shore Temple
Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, around 60 km south of the city of Chennai. It is an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during the time of Periplus (1st century CE) and Ptolemy (140 CE), from where ancient Indian traders sailed to countries of South East Asia. By the 7th century it was a port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It has a group of sanctuaries carved out of rock in the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has an average elevation of 12 metres (39 feet). The modern town of Mahabalipuram was established by the British Raj in 1827.