Pancha Rathas an example of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century located at Mamallapuram. As one of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pancha Rathas shrines were carved during the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I. Each temple is a monolith, carved whole from a rock outcropping of pink granite. Each shrine is not assembled from cut rock but carved from one single large piece of stone. It is likely their original design traces back to wood constructions. Panch is a Hindi world which means Five. These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. These are built in the shapes of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. The chariots (rathas) are constructed with towers, The cars of gods, multipillared halls, and sculptured walls which are chiseled out minutely. The Rathas have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Draupadi which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. The five rathas are Draupadi’s Ratha, Arjuna’s Rath, Nakul – Sahadev’s Rath, Bhima Rath and Dharamraja Yudhisthira’s Rath.
Draupadi’s Ratha: This is located at the entrance gate, which is spectacular and simple, shaped like a hut and is dedicated to goddess Durga. Female door – keepers stand on the either ride of the Rath, one holding a bow and another, a sword. At the eastern wall a bas-relief stands portraying Goddess Durga standing on lotus and two worshippers at here feet offering flowers and one of the persons head respectively. Energy other walls have the figure of the great goddess, and at the front of the temple is a Lion’s figure, which is the celestial vehicle to the Goddess. Photos of Draupadi’s Ratha:
- Draupadi’s Ratha:
- Lion’s figure in front of the Draupadi’s Ratha:
- Goddess Durga: