© indianhistoryias

The temple is a Dravidian rock-cut architecture that is sculpted from a single 400,000 tons of rock.

Victoria Tunggono   29 February 2016 10:00

Brilio.net - An ancient Hindu temple is found in Ellora, 29 kilometers away from the City of Aurangabad, in the state of Maharashtra, India. The 1200 years old temple is named Kailasa, from Sanskrit “Kailasanatha”, and was built in the 8th century (757-783 CE) by Rashtrakuta king Krishna I, who ruled the Indian Subcontinent between the 6th and 10th centuries. The whole story was written in Kannada inscription.

Kailasa is a part of 34 temples and monasteries called as Ellora Caves, all carved rocks that extend over more than 2 kilometers. They are dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex. Kailasa Temple is popularly known as Kailashnath, which translates to the Lord of Kailash, or Mount Kailash, where Lord Shiva resides. The temple is a Dravidian rock-cut architecture that is sculpted from a single 400,000 tons of rock that has the most accurate proportions and intricate sculpture craftsmanship.

The temple is carved with three types of chisels, as seen by the marks on the walls. It was constructed vertically from the top down, but has a remarkably complex design for it has more than one level. A two-levels high gateway reveals a U-shaped courtyard. The courtyard is fenced in a three-level high arcade made of columns. The arcade has huge sculpted panels and alcoves, and contains of enormous sculpture of many Deities. It used to have flying bridges made out of stone that connected the galleries to central temple structure, but these had fallen.

The courtyard has two structures: An image of sacred bull Nandi in front of the central temple, housing a lingam. The Nandi Mandapa and the main Shiva Temple in the Cave 16 are about 7 meters tall and built on two levels. The lower levels of Nandi Mandapa are solid structures and decorated with elaborate illustrative carvings, with the base carved with many elephants that are holding the structure aloft.

A rock bridge is connecting the Nandi Mandapa to a tall structure in the shape of South Indian temple pyramid. The shrine has pillars, windows, inner and outer rooms, gathering halls and an enormous lingam in the center. It is engraved with niches, plasters, windows, and images of the Deities, mithunas (erotic male and female figures) and many other figures.

There is a grand sculpture of Ravana, in his attempt to lift Mount Kailasa with his full might. The Shaivaite Deities (followers of Lord Shiva) are mostly placed at the left of the entrance and the Vaishnavaite Deities (followers of Lord Vishnu) are at the right hand side. There are also two Dhwajasthambha (pillars with flagstaff) placed in the courtyard.

Many people would delegate the magnificent sculpted monolithic structure that of aliens, as the tools used for transporting such heavy materials would have been limited at the time. But I would prefer to consider that the whole complex is proof that our ancestors did have higher skills and civilizations that we could ever imagine.

Image via Hinduism Today Magazine

Image via indianhistoryias

Image via Hinduism Today Magazine(youtube)

Ground plan of the temple. Image via wikipedia

Image courtesy via Hinduism Today Magazine

Image via britannica

Image via Hinduism Today Magazine

Image via Hinduism Today Magazine

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