Massive wooden rath (temple car), Tiruchengodu
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the wooden temple car from the Kailasanatha Temple at Tiruchengodu in Tamil Nadu, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s. The town of Tiruchengodu is situated at the foot of Nagagiri ('Serpent Hill'). The main temple in the town is the Ardhanariswara Temple which was begun in the early 16th century but recontructed towards the end of the 19th century. The other important temple is the Kailasanatha Temple which was begun in the Chola period but most of its architecture belongs to the Vijayanagar period. The entrance gopura, or gateway, was built in 1664. During the major temple festivals in South India the statues of the divinities were taken in procession through the streets of the city on massive wooden chariots called rathas. They were pulled by large groups of people on robust wheels of solid wood. This chariot is elaborately carved with figures of the gods.