The Kailasanath or Kailasa temple is one of the largest rock-cut ancient Hindu temples located in Ellora, Maharashtra, India. It was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I as attested in Kannada inscriptions. This is one of the 34 temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves. These extend over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora. It is a megalith carved out of one single rock.
It is a monolithic structure, notable for its vertical excavation, carvers started at the top of the original rock, and excavated downward. It is estimated that about 400,000 tons of rocks was scooped out over hundreds of years to construct it out of a single rock.
From a distance itself, the temple looks impressive, hugging the mighty rocks, as it were, the rooftop resembling Mount Kailash. The vast expanse of the green lawn adds majesty to the structure. The entrance is impressive with its two-storied appearance and the welcoming sculptures of Lakshmi and the two doorkeepers.
All the carvings are at more than one level. A two-storeyed gateway opens to reveal a U-shaped courtyard. The courtyard is edged by a columned arcade three stories high. The arcades are punctuated by huge sculpted panels, and alcoves containing enormous sculptures of a variety of deities. Originally flying bridges of stone connected these galleries to central temple structures, but these have fallen.
Within the courtyard are two structures. As is traditional in Shiva temples, an image of the sacred bull Nandi fronts the central temple housing the lingam. In Cave 16, the Nandi Mandapa and main Shiva temple are each about 7 metres high, and built on two storeys. The lower stories of the Nandi Mandapa are both solid structures, decorated with elaborate illustrative carvings. The base of the temple has been carved to suggest that elephants are holding the structure aloft.
A rock bridge connects the Nandi Mandapa to the porch of the temple. The structure itself is a tall pyramidal South Indian temple. The shrine – complete with pillars, windows, inner and outer rooms, gathering halls, and an enormous stone lingam at its heart – is carved with niches, plasters, windows as well as images of deities, mithunas (erotic male and female figures) and other figures. Most of the deities at the left of the entrance are Shaivaite (followers of Lord Shiva) while on the right hand side the deities are Vaishnavaites (followers of Lord Vishnu).
There are two Dhwajasthambha (pillars with flagstaff) in the courtyard. The grand sculpture of Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailasa, with his full might is a landmark in Indian art.
It is more of a monument of sculpture than of architecture as it was made by cutting down of rocks by sculpturing it rather than building up the temple by an architectural design
It is the largest rock cut temple.
Above the sanctuary there is a pyramidal tower which is about 30 metres high.
Around the base of the tower there are five shrines dedicated respectively to Ganesha, Rudra, Parvati, Chand and Saptamatri.
It stands on a high plinth (7.5 metres high) carved with sculptures of elephants and lions.
The temple remains open every day from morning 9:00 to evening 5:00.
The best time to visit Kailash Temple would be in December, when an Indian classical music festival is held at Ellora. Every December at the Kailash temple the MTDC organises the Ellora festival of music and dance at the Kailash Temple.
The Buddhist Caves, Ellora
Grishneshwar Jyothirlinga Temple
Jain Caves, Ellora
Bhadra Maruti Temple, Khuldabad
City : Ellora
Dist. : Aurangabad
State : Maharashtra
Country : India
PIN : 431001
How to Reach:
The Nearest airport is the Chikalthana which is at a distance of about 160 kilometers and is directly linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur.
The nearest station is the Aurangabad station which is at a distance of about 30 kilometers away from the Kailash temple. It is connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, and Bhopal.
To reach the temple, there are state transport buses and luxury buses available from Ellora to all the major cities of India.
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