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General view of the rathas at Mamallapuram.

General view of the rathas at Mamallapuram.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 27/(60)

Item number: 2760

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Pancha rathas at Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, from the Album of Miscellaneous views in India, 1860s. 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). The rathas or chariots are monolithic buildings carved out of granite and are so-called as their shape is similar to that of the temple chariots used to take the deities in procession during the temple festivities. They were never completed and could have been used as models for different buildings. This is a general view from the south-west of the 'Pancha Rathas', in the foreground is Dharmaraja ratha, with the Bhima ratha beyond. In the background, extreme left, is the Nakula Sahadeva ratha.

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