7th Century Architectural Wonder – The Five Rathas

The Five Rathas in Mahabalipuram is a seventh-century architectural wonder that was constructed by the Pallava kings. Each of the Ratha is named after important characters of Mahabharata, an epic Hindu tale.

All the structures in this location were built using a single rock, or monolithic architecture. First, the sculptors chisel small holes into the rock, placing a wooden stick into the hole. Next, they pour water onto the wood to make the wood expand. The wooden stick bulges in the hole, and the sculptors then use a chisel and hammer to break the rock with a chisel-like precision. The head sculptor would start outlining the proportions of the structure from the top all the way to bottom. The construction, however, would start from the bottom and complete at the top. All the structures were not fully completed, because during construction, a war struck. Still, this site served as a prototype for future cities, and is a hallmark of Dravidian architecture. The Pallava kings used this as a testing place to learn the skills to build real temples in other parts of Tamil Nadu like Kanchipuram.

It is still an astounding feat that the Pallavas managed to create such stunning structures with the use of little industrial tools. Despite it being an incomplete prototype, the architecture is still remarkably refined, and would foretell the great architectural wonders that were to come.


Author: Balaji Parandaman

I am a Travel enthusiast and I always find exotic locations within South India and take my family and friends. If you’re interested in knowing new and unexplored getaways that are not yet known to outside world please contact me. I also arrange economic tour packages to families.

Comments

  1. During my stay in Chennai in 2011, I did not have the opportunity to see the Mahabalipuram. I was planned to go there in a week-end. But I have to cancel my plan due to other official work. During my next visit I am sure I’ll visit this place. Your photos and the description is very good.

  2. Swati Jaiswal says:

    Really adorable snaps of Mahabalipuram…

  3. Shrishti says:

    Really this is architectural wonders!

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