Mamallapuram was a florishing port city, during 6 to 9 centuries A.D, in the modern indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pallava dynasty was powerful during this period in this region and a regional architectural style evolved under their patronage. It seems that Pallavas introduced the technique of building in stone in Tamil Nadu. Several Pallava rulers built beautiful buildings in stone all over their kingdom. A large number of such buildings together with numerous examples of brilliently carved sculptures can be found here. Mamallapuram is often refered to as an open air museum of early Dravidian art.
In Mamallapuram there is a group of small structures each one carved in single rock out crop. These structures are popularly known as Pandava Raths. The above name relate these structures to five principal charectors of Makabhatratha, one of the epics of India. However the historian say these were built as temples dedicated to Hindu godesses. It is interesting to note that each of these structures made to represent different styles of Dravidian Architure.