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The Raths, the Seven Pagodas near Madras

The Raths, the Seven Pagodas near Madras

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 807/1(17)

Item number: 807117

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Nakula Sahadeva Ratha (chariot), one of the five Rathas of Mamallapuram, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. These rathas are rock-cut monoliths carved during the 7th Century of the Pallava period, named after the heros in the Mahabharatha and each associated with a different Hindu god. They are remarkable for their variety in plan, architectural style and elevation, as they imitate in stone the earliest wooden temples. The Draupadi Ratha resembles a wooden hut with a thatched roof and is dedicated to Durga. The Arjuna Ratha has a two-storied pyramidal roof that resembles a south Indian temple and is assumed to be dedicated to Shiva. The Bhima Ratha resembles a Buddhist chaitya and is associated with Vishnu. The Dharmaraja Ratha has a taller pyramidal roof than the Arjuna Ratha and honours Shiva, Parvati and their son Skanda. This photograph shows the Nakula Sahadeva Ratha most clearly, which could be associated with either Indra or Aiyanar as they both ride elephants.

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