The Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots), Mahabalipuram, ECR, Chennai

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The Pancha Rathas or Five Chariots are popular rock-cut monuments that can be found at the end of Mahabalipuram site. From the Mahabs bus-stand, if you take a left, you go to the shore temple/beach. If you go straight (further up), the road leads to the Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots). This is an ASI/UNESCO protected monument site and there is a separate entrance fee (10 rs) for the same. You can bring and park your vehicle here, as there is some distance (0.5 KM) between the shore temple and this site. You can also walk.


I almost missed visiting this place. I thought the light house was the end of all the monuments at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, but since I saw something like a monument from the top of the light house, I ventured to explore. I am glad I did!

The Pancha Rathas were also built during the Pallava period (7th-8th Century CE) and each ratha (chariot) is believed to represent one of the five Pandava brothers. The architecture style followed by each monument is different and hence people guess that this site might have been a practice-ground for sculptors to train.

Each of the sculptures are carved out of a single granite rock. It seems, these monuments are sturdy and intact even today due to the sturdiness of the material used (granite). People guess that even with many skilled sculptors, this monument would have taken a few months/years to complete.

Try not to go here on weekends. There are too many people, and hence it is difficult to take pictures without people!! I have other pictures as well, but due to the prominent presence of so many people, I am able to show you only the following photos –

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Destination Infinity

Photos: Destination8Infinity. All photos published under this creative commons license.

Reference: Wikipedia page.

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11 Replies to “The Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots), Mahabalipuram, ECR, Chennai”

    1. I wish I was able to take more pics. But since I went there on a weekend, there were so many people who had flocked the place! The first picture should give a good idea about the number of people there!

      Destination Infinity

    1. I doubt that practice ground for sculptures theory. It’s written like that in Wikipedia, but who knows…

      Destination Infinity

    1. Yes, weekends are busy indeed. People can try to go on weekdays, if possible. One can take excellent pics, then.

      Destination Infinity

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