It was a news to me when I read that Mahabalipuram was built on the wealth amassed from destruction of Vatapi by the Pallavan King. The capital of Chalukyas was Badami ( Vatapi old name ) which was ransacked for its supreme wealth and grandeur.
The Pallava kings had established Mahabalipuram as a sea port to have trading links with China, Arabs and Greeks. Infact the antecedents point out to trading links to earlier times with Roman empire and later to European. It can be pointed out that Pallavan kings were inspired by Chalukyan architecture and wanted to surpass them in their own capital and nearby areas.
This place was earlier referred to as city of SEVEN PAGODAS or placee of seven temples. But unfortunately Tsunami in 1341 AD seems to have submerged the majority of the Pagodas and Palaces built around the seashore, with element of nature sparing only one seashore temple for future generation to relish. How ironic, another Tsunami in 2004 has helped to uncover the remains of lost monuments.
This complex was a part of the grand seven pagodas. The credit for construction of the shore temple should go to Pallava King Rajasimha ( 700 - 728 AD ) This temple which is situated bang on the sea shore is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This structure may have inspired Raja Raja Chola to build his Brihadeswara in a grandeur scale.
There are three temples in this shore complex, one is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with a broken Lingam, another is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and third one is dedicated to Durga, with the Lion type of sculpture.