Four-pillared mandapa in front of the modern temple at Mamallapuram
Photographer: Rea, Alexander
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a four-pillared mandapa in front of the modern temple at Mamallapuram, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Alexander Rea in the1880s. 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 (r. c. 630-668). This view shows a pavilion with tall granite pillars that were erected around the 17th or 18th century and was used to hang bronze icons on a small swing during festival times. It has a brick and plaster tower and the steps are flanked by animal balustrades.