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Pancha Rathas. | by Peer.Gynt
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Pancha Rathas.

Pancha Rathas is an example of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century, located at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage site and village 60 km south of the capital Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.



The Pancha Rathas shrines were carved during the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I. The purpose of their construction is not known, structures are not completed. Pancha Rathas have been preserved very well thanks to sturdiness of their material - granite and in spite of constant salty winds from the ocean and catastrophic tsunami in 13th century.



Each temple is a monolith, carved whole from a rock outcropping of pink granite. The five monolithic shrines are named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. Four shrines have pyramidal roofs. The shrines represent diversity of Dravidian architecture of the time and it is likely that their original design traces back to wood constructions.

As one of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Taken on April 15, 2012