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Mahabalipuram Rathas

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Pancha Rathas additionally alluded as Pandava Rathas are the most phenomenal design structures of the nine solid sanctuaries of Mahabalipuram arranged on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, close Chennai. The five structures each etched in the state of rathas or chariots out of vast square of stone or stone monument of stone embodies solid Indian shake slice engineering that goes back to the seventh century amid the rule of the Pallava line.

photo via wikipedia

The five rathas are named as ‘Dharmaraja Ratha’, ‘Bhima Ratha’, ‘Arjuna Ratha’, ‘Nakula Sahadeva Ratha’, and ‘Draupadi Ratha’ after the five Pandava siblings and their basic life partner Draupadi from the considerable Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. Albeit incomplete and never sanctified, these rathas that are regularly mistakenly alluded as sanctuaries are presently part of the landmark complex that is set apart as ‘Gathering of Monuments at Mahabalipuram’ by ‘UNESCO’.

It is enrolled in UNESCO’s World Heritage destinations. Kept up under the support of the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’ (ASI), this complex has stayed one of the acclaimed visitor goals of south India that progressed toward becoming model of and established the framework of another compositional style, the sanctuary engineering of South India.


The development of the five rathas is followed back to the seventh century amid the rule of King Mahendravarman I from 600– 630 CE and his child Narasimhavarman I from 630– 668 AD of the Pallava administration. An ASI recorded tablet at the site specifies that the idea of cutting the stones in the state of chariots or rathas was made by the Pallava tradition keeping wooden rathas as models. Development work of the structures ceased after the death of Narasimhavarman I in 668 AD.

These structures showing the Dravidian engineering later progressed toward becoming formats to sanctuaries of substantially higher measurements developed in the area therefore. The explanation behind building the rathas, the greater part of which have impressions of the Buddhist Viharas and Chaityas isn’t known till date. Despite the fact that there is no association between the structures and the Pandavas of the immense Indian epic, the ‘Mahabharata’, and ASI proposed alluding the structures as vimanas, however the names of Pandavas has unendingly stayed connected with the structures. In 1984 UNESCO denoted the place as World Heritage Site.

Dharmaraja Ratha

The most forcing and compositionally predominant structure as additionally the biggest and taking off among the five rathas is the Dharmaraja Ratha. Committed to Lord Shiva, this intricately formed tritala or three-storied vimana confronting west has square talas with the ground floor estimating a square of 8.5 m with a stature of 11 m. The exteriors of every one of its four sides lay on two columns and two pilasters.

photo via wikipedia

Highlights of the vimana incorporates open patios, continuously littler stories giving the structure the state of a pyramidal pinnacle having porch and a shikhara, octagonal fit as a fiddle, at the peak. The edges of the sanctum are embellished with a few figures that incorporate basic types of Shiva, Krishna, Skanda, Brahma-Sasta, Harihara, Brahma and Ardhanarisvara. A picture of a ruler, probably that of Narasimhavarman I with engravings of his titles, Megha and Trailokiya – vardhana-vidhi carved above it discovers put other than the figures. Name of the sanctum ‘Atyantakama Pallavesvaram’ is carved in the highest level.

‘Atyantakama’ is viewed as a title of Paramesvaravarman I. The upper segment of the structure is embellished with kudus or horseshoe-curve dormer like projections. Models of lions in sitting position are built to help the poles of the columns. The principal floor is resplendent with 22 carvings including the ones showing Lord Shiva as Natesa and Gangadara and Lord Krishna moving on Kaliya Mardhana and laying on Garuda. The second floor likewise contains rich carvings with a few figures like that of Somaskanda and Dakshinamurthy.

Bhima Ratha

This ektala vimana confronting west is an elongated structure with a base estimating 12.8 m by 7.3 m and a tallness of 7.6 m. It helps one to remember the Buddhist give in design like the Sala-Shikhara. Committed to Lord Vishnu, this structure has a barrel-vaulted patio and designed sectioned yard, suggestive of castle building style. It is etched out of a pink stone rock which takes off steadily from north to south.

The lower floor of the vimana, albeit inadequate shows the arrangement that was chalked out for the floor that incorporate a column rested circumambulatory entry. It has open veranda with long columns, lion mounted lined displays on both long sides and kudus. Such embellishments are etched on the façade of the structure on the cornices that demarks the two stories. The cornices associated with a section are cut with elliptical formed hallowed places. The peak closes are decorated with wonderful themes while the inside of the vimana are recorded with Nasikas.

photo via wikipedia

Arjuna Ratha

This dvi-tala or two layered vimana confronting west and cut out of a live shake estimating 3.5 m by 4.9 m with a tallness of 6.1 m is committed to Lord Shiva. It has the same upapitha or auxiliary stage with the Draupadi Ratha. The structure of the Arjuna Ratha is peaceful straightforward and resembles a little castle. Albeit particularly similar to the Dharmaraja Ratha, it contrasts from the last in a few regards which incorporates having one level not as much as the last mentioned, state of the arch being octagonal and front yard decorated with a finely etched stone lion.

The garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum has a pillared Mukhamandapa or inward yard. The passage of the ratha lays on two columns and two lion mounted cut pilasters. The four sides of the cornices are finished with kudus. Straightforward Padabandha style is showed from the design of the adhisthana which is the stage of the principle divinity.

In the middle of the stunningly cut columns lies opening specialties that comprise of figures of a few gods like Siva-Vrishabhantika, Skanda on an elephant and Vishnu as additionally figures of apsaras, a Siddha, Parthiharas, a Chowri conveyor and Amaras to say a couple. The 8 specialties of the second story comprise of cut figures of couples. A figure of Lord Shiva’s mount, Nandi the bull, is housed on the back of the ratha.

photo via wikipedia

Nakula Sahadeva Ratha

This ratha devoted to Lord Indra was named after the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, the last two of the Pandava siblings. It is the main ratha among the five that faces south and to some degree looks like a Chaitya Hall that is a Buddhist supplication corridor. As the structure looks like posterior of an elephant, it is alluded as ‘Gajaprishtakara’ and the style as ‘gajapristha’.

A solid model of an elephant likewise discovers put next to the ratha. Developed on an indistinguishable base from that of the Dharmaraja, Bhima and Arjuna rathas, this dvitala or two layered structure has an apsidal arrangement. Despite the fact that the ratha is without any icon to revere, cut figures of divine beings and demi-divine beings decorate the specialties of its inside dividers.


Draupadi Ratha

Named after the basic spouse of the Pancha Pandavas, this ratha which lies at the northern end of the five rathas is devoted to Goddess Durga. Built as a little cottage of Bengal, it is the littlest of the five rathas, and measures 3.4 m by 3.4 m with a tallness of 5.5 m. The curvilinear covered rooftop is without any finial yet is decorated with themes in the joints.

The skyscraper stage prompting the passage entryway of the west-bound ratha is adorned with models of lion and elephant heads etched on the other hand. Durga pictures decorate the ratha, especially on the sanctum that depicts Goddess Durga remaining on a lotus and furthermore on the outside surface of the divider confronting east.

photo via wikipedia

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