at mahabalipuram can be grouped as: (i) Monolithic temples constructed
in the style of rathas or chariots, (ii) caves by excavating the
hills for temples called mandapa, (iii) the masonry temples, and
(iv) sculptured scenes or carved hill edge.
The five monolithic
rathas are square or oblong in plan, pyramidal in elevation and
varying in their overall dimensions. the Dharmaraja ratha constructed
in Pallava style is the largest of all, having huge pillars in the
portico with statute of lions, pyramidal tower and turret roof.
The Arjuna ratha is the most elegant of the group having beautiful
makartorana on its three sides.
The other three
rathas named Bhima, Ganesh and Nakula Sahadeva have Buddhist type
of architecture with an oblong base on which two or three storey
structures with a small gopuram stand.