Currently a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Mamallapuram Complex, the Panch Rathas (five chariots) are five spectacular rock carvings, based on the characters of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. The rock carvings stand at the southernmost end of Mamallapuram, a fine testimony to Dravidian architecture. They were built as examples of South Indian temples but since they were never consecrated, they were not used for worship. The five ratha temples belong to the Pandava brothers- Yudishthir, Bheema, Arjun, Nakul and Sahdeva, and their wife Draupadi- the Panchaali (five-husbanded). The Panch Rathas complex was built under Narsimhavarman I of the Pallava dynasty some time between the 7th and 8th centuries. The temples are built in the shape of pagodas and look very similar to Buddhist shrines. The chariots of the Pandavas and Draupadi are accompanied by statues of an elephant, a lion and Nandi bull, vehicles of Lord Indra, Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva, respectively.

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