In an attempt to keep our content accurate and representative of evolving scholarship, we invite you to give feedback on any information in this article.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


    ARTICLE

    Bhima Ratha

    Map Academy

    Articles are written collaboratively by the EIA editors. More information on our team, their individual bios, and our approach to writing can be found on our About pages. We also welcome feedback and all articles include a bibliography (see below).

    Part of the Pancha Ratha complex at Mamallapuram, the Bhima Ratha is adjacent to the Draupadi Ratha and the Arjuna Ratha. It is an oblong two-storied shrine with a barrel-vaulted roof decorated with shalas and chandrashalas. It is 14.6 metres long, 7.6 metres wide and 8 metres tall with a central cell approximately 9 metres long and 3 metres wide. Around the cell runs a colonnade 1.5 metres wide throughout, shrinking to 1 metre at the corners.

    The colonnade includes several ornate pillars with lions and yalis carved on their bases. The barrel-shaped roof has drawn comparisons to Buddhist architecture, though there is debate over whether the structure was inspired by Buddhist buildings or whether both drew from a common architectural ancestor. The pillars on the eastern side of the structure are unfinished, suggesting that it was abandoned after the excavation of the lower storey. The lower storey also lacks sculptures, unlike other shrines in the complex. It has been suggested that the structure’s oblong shape was meant to prepare it to house a central carved image of the reclining Vishnu Anantasayana.

    Though the structure is today named after the Pandava Bhima from the Mahabharata epic, there is no evidence from its original construction attesting to this.

     

     
    Bibliography

    Archaeological Survey of India. “Monolithic Temples of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.” 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130312100940/http://www.asi.nic.in/asi_monu_whs_mahabalipuram_monolithic.asp.

    Fergusson, James, and James Burgess. The Cave Temples of India. London: W.H. Allen & Company, 1880.

    Huntington, Susan. The Art and Architecture of Ancient India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain. New York: Weatherhill, 1985.

    Feedback
     
    Related Content
    loading