The Temple Architecture : The Shore Temple is a brilliant example of the Pallava art and architecture. What is to be noted is the design of the Shikhara or the spire. The design has altered from the rounded Vihara to the soaring tiered style. Erected to catch the first rays of the rising sun, the temple has an unusual design. The main shrine of the temple faces the east while the gateway, the forecourt and the assembly hall are located behind the sanctum.
The temple stands in dedication to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. A chain of Nandi Bulls can be observed along the enclosing wall of the temple. A huge stone wall was built to protect the temple against the rising waves of the sea. The wall also helped to save against further erosion. Facing the east and the west are two shrines to honour Lord Shiva. Acquiring a position between these two shrines is a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu can be seen resting on the serpent Sesha which symbolises consciousness. The sculpted panels of the temple represent the mastery of the erstwhile artisans of the Pallava era.