Kailasa Temple | One of the largest and greatest monuments in India. Located in Ellora, this astonishing temple was carved out of one single rock.
It was designed to recall Mount Kailash which is the adobe of Lord Shiva and one of the most magnificent cave temples for its unique architecture and sculptural styles.
The temple is also known as the Kailasanatha temple and is one of the 34 cave temples and monasteries which form the Ellora Caves. Seventeen of them are Hindu, twelve are Buddhist and five are Jain.
It is believed that the original builders of the Kailasa temple used a vertical excavation method.
They started at the top of the original boulders and worked their way downward carving out one of the fascinating ancient temples on the planet.
The temples are said to have been sculptured by a number of different cultures, from Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists.
According to mainstream scholars, the earliest caves were believed to have been carved around 300 BC. However, most of the work was done in the period from the IV to the IX Century AD.
The temple houses several intricately carved panels, depicting scenes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the adventures of Krishna.
Also worth admiring are the immense monolithic pillars that stand in the courtyard, flanking the entrance on both sides, and the southeastern gallery that has 10 giant and fabulous panels depicting the different avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Kailasa Temple is known for its vertical excavation.
The carvers might have started the work at the top of the original rock and moved downwards.
It entailed the removal of approximately 200,000 tons of rocks by hammer and chisel before the temple could take shape.
Its architect is different from those of the Deccan Region and appears to have been based on Kailasa Temple of Kanchi.
The southern influence on the temple suggests the involvement of Chalukya and Pallava artists in its construction.
The deities at the entrance of the temple feature Shaivaite and Vaishnavaite sects on the right and left respectively.
The courtyard is U-shaped and reveals a two-storey gateway.
A central shrine dedicated to Shiva is at the centre of the courtyard.
The shrine features a flat-roofed mandapa which is supported by 16 pillars. Overall, the Kailasa Temple is an engineering marvel that was executed from top to bottom with zero margins of error.
Though this temple, its structure, design, and carvings have been altered many times, the original message survived, guarded and protected by scores of angels, which are seen hanging in reliefs on the temple walls, surrounding the sculptures of deities or feel them as etherical beings when they come in the silence of the night to keep the cosmic functions alive by singing their songs of creation.
Angels are all over Maharashtra’s ancient sites, but nowhere else are so many in just one place.
Is this why the Kailash temple is open to the sky?