Five Rathas


Located at the southern edge of Mamallapuram, the Five Rathas are five free standing temples. There are about nine monolithic temples at Mahabalipuram. They are the unique contribution of the Pallavas to Indian Art. The monolithic temples are called locally as Ratha (Chariot) as they resemble the processional chariots of a temple. The Five rathas, the best of all monolithic temples, are hewn out of a huge boulder. Temples of different plan and elevation have been carved and the left over portions were intelligently used to carve animals in a natural way. The naming of these ratha, after Pandavas and their wife, the heroes of epic Mahabharata, is simply a local tradition.