Dynasties which ruled South India, patronised construction of a series of architecturally beautiful temples that were carved out of stones. Interestingly, the construction technology used in these temples have progressed with time
Dravidian style temples are all carved out of stones. The use of stones and construction technology in these temples have progressed with time. Dynasties, which ruled the Southern part of India, patronised these constructions. Pallava (600-900 AD), Chola (900-1150AD), Pandya (1100-1350 AD), Vijayanagar (1350-1565 AD), Madura (1600-1800 AD) are some of the examples. The development of construction technology by these rulers is the subject of detailed research.
Excavation type temples were built during the reign of Pallava, King Mahendravarman. Rock cuts or large stones carved temples fall into this category. The art was further developed during the reign of Narasimhavarman, the second king of the Pallavas. The temples at Mahabalipuram date back to this period. There are two types of temples, inspired by chariots and pavilions. Each temple is carved out of a single solid stone. The sculptors had mastered the art of carving out stones during this period. Temples of various sizes are found here because existing stones were used as they were and where they were.
Located at a distance of 32 km from Chennai city, Mahabalipuram village is known for such architecture. There are about 40 temples in this place. There are 10 chariot temples in it. At that time, the experiment of shaping the temple into a chariot can be seen in many places in India. Of these, the five Pandava chariot temples near the beach are particularly noteworthy. All these chariots are of different sizes, big and small. In front of many chariots is a row of carved pillars.
The Dharmaraj Rath is very beautiful and resembles the structural temples developed in later times. We see the imitation of this type of carving in many temples of South India. The sculptors made such beautiful use of these innumerable stones scattered on the beach. These raths and pavilions are the basic structure which paved the way for developed temple architecture of later years.