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Ganesha Ratha, a temple in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. It is one of ten rathas carved out of pink granite within the Group of Monuments of the Pallava Period at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site since 1984.
The ratha is an exemplar of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late seventh century during the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I.
It was primarily constructed with a Shiva Linga, it is now sanctified with a Ganesha deity after the linga was removed.
The Ganesha Ratha is a entirely done rock-cut structure, while nearby rathas are incomplete.
The current stone ratha is a replica of a wooden version which preceded it. Its construction is credited to Narasimhavarman I who reigned between 630-688AD.
While it is assumed that this ratha was built prior to the other rathas of the area, but there is no historical evidence to confirm it.
It is located on a hillock to the northwest and on the backside of the rock-cut bas-relief of Arjuna’s Penance.
The temple was originally devoted to Lord Shiva but in the 1880s, villagers replaced the Shiva Linga with an image of Ganesha, after formally seeking permission from the District Collector, and may have been attributed to George V of England.
The original Shiva Linga is installed under a tree nearby. Along with several other monuments, this temple also gained UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction in 1984 as “Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram”
The ratha is three tiered and stuffed with images and other architectural features which are found in other South Indian temples.
The facade is a pillared verandah bordered by sculptures of Dwarapalakas. The pilasters are mounted on seated lions which are the typecast design of Pallava architecture.
There are 18 inscriptions in Grantha and Nāgarī scripts of the Sanskrit language inscribed on its west portico.
Out of the fourteen verses in these dedications, the twelfth verse is ascribed to Narasimhavarman I’s grandson, Paramesvaravarman I, surnamed Atyantakama, the Pallava king was known as Atyantakama, Atyantakama-Pallaveshvara-Griham. Other verses praises Shiva.