Front view of the Dharmaraja Cave Temple, Mamallapuram
Photographer: Rea, Alexander
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Dharmaraja Cave Temple at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, from the south-west, taken by Alexander Rea in the 1880s. Mamallapuram, a tiny village south of Madras, was a flourishing port of the Pallava dynasty during the 7th - 8th centuries. The site is famous for an early group of monolithic temples, known as the 'Pancha Ratha' and some monolithic sculptures assigned to the 7th century reign of Narasimhavarman Mahamalla (reigned 630-668 AD). Along a granite hill are some rock-cut caves and the celebrated sculptured rock depicting Arjuna's penance. The Dharmaraja Cave Temple dates from the early seventh century. It consists of an open mandapa with three sanctuaries excavated into the rear wall. Guardian figures flank the doorway but the architectural elements are unadorned.