An incredibly mysterious building on top of a huge grey-white granite rock, known as Olakkannesvara Temple.
Built by Pallava king Mahendravarman I in 630 CE. The Shiva temple functioned as lighthouse to emit light & serve as navigational aid for ships in the sea.
Often it is mentioned that Olakkannesvara Temple is built even earlier, around 640 AD in the times of Mahendravarman I. Seems, this is not true – in these times there were not built structural temples from stone blocks. Also, the architectural details of Olakkannesvara Temple are characteristic for a later time.
Temple is devoted to Shiva – each of the sides of the temple is adorned with different avatars of Shiva. Sivalinga was stolen from the temple by the end of the 18th or the early 19th century. Around this time the temple ceased to operate and was abandoned, it lost also its upper part.
The Olakkannesvara Temple also known as, “the Old Lighthouse”, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.