Five Rathas (Pancha Rathas)

  • 4.6

    Location: 58, W Raja St, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104, India.

    Visiting time: 2 hours.

    Phone number not available

    Pancha Rathas is a monument complex in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India, in the Kancheepuram district, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Pancha Rathas, a large Indian rock-cut monument, is an example.


    Mahabalipuram’s Pancha Rathas is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sandy remnants of this old seaside town continually intrigue visitors for some reason. They aren’t as elaborate as some other spots, but there is always something new to uncover on each visit. Pancha Rathas has a captivating atmosphere and architecture. This site provides information about Hinduism and architecture.


    Nandi the bull at the Pancha Rathas (also known as Pandava Rathas), a series of monuments at Mahabalipuram, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.

    In the Pallava dynasty, King Mahendravarman I (600–630 CE) and his son Narasimhavarman I (630–668 AD) erected the five rathas during their reigns in the 7th century. The Pallava dynasty came up with the idea of carving rocks in the shape of chariots or rathas, using wooden rathas as prototypes, according to an ASI inscription at the site. The development of the structures came to a standstill after Narasimhavarman I died in 668 AD. These structures, which epitomized Dravidian architecture, were eventually used as models for temples of a much larger scale that were later constructed in the vicinity. The reason for the creation of the Marathas, most of which mirrored Buddhist Viharas and Chaityas, is unclear. Despite the fact that there is no connection between the buildings and the Pandavas of the famed Indian epic, the ‘Mahabharata,’ and despite the fact that ASI lobbied for calling the structures vimanas, the Pandavas’ names have been indelibly linked with the structures. UNESCO listed the complex as a World Heritage Site in 1984.

    Inside/Outside Views

    Pancha Rathas, on the other hand, are one of the few examples of whole houses with beautiful exteriors and interiors carved from the living rock. The incredibly skilled Indian stonecutters here used a ridge of pink granite and created five structures – rathas – and three large monolithic sculptures among these structures by removing the “spare” cliff.

    Draupadi Ratha: The smallest of the Panch Rathas is the Draupadi Ratha. This temple has a square roof and is designed like a thatched cottage. It is dedicated to the goddess Durga and features magnificent artwork. The exquisitely carved panel depicting Durga on a lotus pedestal is stunning. A sea monster is carved above the entrance door on the outside. Devi Durga standing on the head of the demon Mahishasura is the most amazing sculpture.

    Arjuna Ratha: This little construction resembles a modest wooden shrine that was previously common in Southern India. It has two stories, a modest portico, with carved pillars, and it faces east. There are no sculptures within this temple, but the surrounding walls represent several different gods, including the Vedic Indra. Beautiful sculptures depicting gods and mortals cover the facade. A pair of lovely apsaras with lissom bodies stand out.

    Nakula Sahadeva Ratha: The elephants are affiliated with this sanctuary, which is dedicated to Indra. This ratha is the only one that isn’t in a “procession,” instead of standing alone. This shrine’s ceiling is likewise designed like an elephant’s back. The relief sculpture of Ardhanariswara covers the walls while sitting lions adorn the columns and pillars. The life-size sculpture is recognized as one of India’s most beautifully sculpted elephants.

    Bhima Ratha: The largest of the Five Rathas, with a length of 12.8 meters, a width of 7.3 meters, and a height of 7.6 meters, is built in the Gopura style with a gabled roof. It is claimed to be dedicated to Anantshayi Vishnu since it contains a massive bas-relief of Vishnu in the guise of Satyamurthy. The structure is still incomplete, but it is intriguing. The sanctuary is surrounded by a circumambulatory route. The shrine’s pillars are decorated with lion figurines.

    Dharmaraja Ratha (Yudhisthir’s Ratha): Dharmaraja Ratha is the most majestic and tallest of the Five rathas, with three stories, but much of it remains unfinished. It is shaped like a typical vimana (tower above the temple) of Southern India at the period. The Shiva shrine is one of the outstanding specimens of early Pallava art and is dedicated to Shiva. The Shiva images on the structure’s corners are particularly lovely. The titles of

     I am engraved in Pallava Grantha script on the Dharmaraja Ratha. According to the inscription, this was built as a Shiva temple by Atyantakama Pallava. The sculpture of Lord Shiva as Ardhanarishvara, who is half man, half woman, is very interesting.

    Opening Hours

    6.00 am to 6.00 pm

    Entry & Others Fees

    INR 10 for Indian citizens; INR 250 for foreigners, no fee for visitors below age 15.

    How to Reach

    By Air: The closest airport to Pancha Rathas is Chennai International Airport which is at a distance of about 58km.

    By Rail: The nearest railway station to Pancha Rathas is Chengalpattu Railway Station which is Chengalpattu Railway Station which is 29km away.

    By Road: The nearer bus stop from Pancha Rathas is Chengalpattu Bus Stand which is 29 km away. From Chengalpattu, Chennai, Kanchipuram, and Pondicherry, regular buses, and private vehicles are available.

    Tips for Travellers

    • Mahabalipuram has a hot climate throughout the year. Cotton clothing and flat shoes are recommended.
    • Weekends are best avoided because the venue is quite congested.
    • Use the services of a licensed guide to fully comprehend the monument’s complexities.
    • There are restrooms and a cafeteria located directly across the street from this monument.


    Que: Is this place safe to visit?

    Ans: Yes, this place is safe to visit.

    Que: Is photography allowed in this place?

    Ans: Yes, photography is allowed.

    We wish you all the best for your journey. Happy Travel!!!

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