The Kailashanath Temple Ellora

October 31, 2022 by admin0

With The Kailashanath Temple Ellora, the rock-cut architecture of the Deccan reached the zenith of creativity and ambitious design. Till then caves had been excavated into the hillside and then the walls, ceiling, and facade embellished with carvings.

At Kailashanath a whole temple with a plinth, walls, shikhara, and subsidiary shrines was carved out of a hillside between the 8th and 9th centuries. It was begun in the reign of King Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty and took over a century to complete. Visualized as Mount Kailash, Shiva’s home in the Himalayas, this remarkable creation makes this temple not a product of architecture but pure sculpture.

Amazing Architecture of The Kailashanath Temple Ellora


Ellora was called Elapura in ancient times. Here thirty-four Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu cave temples were excavated out of the black basalt hillside. The Kailashanah temple is the world’s largest monolith structure that is twice the area of the Parthenon of Greece and one and a half times as tall. Only the guilds of Indian sculptors could have shown such panache and daring in visualizing this temple which is a marvel of ambitious engineering and superb carving technique. Generations of carvers visualized a complete temple that was scooped out of the hillside.

The stone cutters began on top of the hill, cutting out three trenches at right angles to leave an island of rock in the middle. This immense slab of rock of 6,500 square meters area stood in a pit 86 meters long and 48 meters wide. The temple that emerged from it was an area of 1700 square meters. It was carved from the top down, a process of cutting down as against the traditional building up.

The carvers working from the top first chiseled out the shikhara and then moved downwards to the walls, pillars, gateways, and then to the plinth. Once the outward shape had been created, they moved to the interior. The garbha griha, antarala, and a sixteen-pillar maha mandapa were carved out and decorated with friezes of sculpture. A shrine of Nandi was created in the courtyard, flanked by two pillars, the dhwajasthambhas.


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