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PANCH RATHAS AND SHORE TEMPLES MAHABALIPURAM

Mahabalipuram is located on a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake, in Tamil Nadu. It is renowned for the monuments built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. Visit the Panch Rathas or Five Ratha temples – of the nine monolithic rock-cut temples found in Mahabalipuram, the most important are these five. They are dedicated to the five Pandava brothers from the epic Mahabharata, and their wife Draupadi. Arjuna Ratha is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Beautiful carvings of Lord Vishnu and a Garuda are featured. The Nakula-Sahadev Ratha is dedicated to Lord Indra – the God of Rain, while the Bhima Ratha features a beautiful shrine. The Dharmaraja Ratha is named after the eldest Pandava and is the largest one in the lineup. Examine Arjuna’s Penance, the massive rock cut bas relief sculpture, depicting the story of Arjuna. On either side of the rock gods, demi-gods, men, birds and beasts all mingle into the theme of Arjuna’s Penance. Krishna’s Butter Ball is a massive boulder balanced on a small hill near the Ganesha Ratha stone temple.  Explore the Shore Temple … a five-storied structure made out of finely cut granite, and one of the earliest and most important structural temples. The spire is extensively decorated with carvings and sculptures. UNESCO has listed it among the world heritage sites.

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Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram lies on the Coromandel Coast, just 60 km from Chennai in Tamilnadu. It was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. The Pallavas were pioneers in art and architecture, and Mahabalipuram is the best showcase of their skill and talent – a fabulous ‘open-air museum’ of sculpture under the sky.  The Panch Rathas or Five Ratha temples are the five most important of the nine rock-cut temples found in Mahabalipuram. They are dedicated to the five Pandava…

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