Kailasanatha Temple – Largest Rock-Cut Temple

If you get excited to know about mysterious places and the scientific facts, myths, and controversies behind their existence then you must visit this incredible, ancient, world famous mysterious “Kailas Temple” of lord Siva located in the cave no. 16 of Ellora, Aurangabad, India. It may not be officially declared as one of the best wonders of the world, but no one can deny the greatness of the Kailash Temple in Ellora. Situated about 30 km from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the rock-cave temple of Ellora is the largest monolithic structure in the world. It is believed that the Kailash Temple at Ellora has striking similarities to the Virupaksha temple of northern Karnataka.

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The Kailasha or Kailashanatha temple is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India. A megalith carved from a rock cliff face, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in the world because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment, and “the climax of the rock-cut phase of Indian architecture”. The top of the superstructure over the sanctuary is 32.6 meters (107 feet) above the level of the court below, although the rock face slopes downwards from the rear of the temple to the front.

The Kailasa temple is the largest of the 34 Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves, ranging for over 2 kilometers) along the sloping basalt cliff at the site. 

The Kailash Temple is the sixteenth cave, and it is one of the 32 cave temples and monasteries forming the magnanimous Ellora Caves. As per the historical records, it was built by the 8th century Rashtrakuta King Krishna I between the year 756 and 773 AD. The temple architecture shows traces of Pallava and Chalukya styles built by Kannadiga kings. The temple contains a number of relief  and free-standing sculptures on a grand scale equal to the architecture, though only traces remain of the paintings which originally decorated it. Further, the non- Rashtrakuta style temples located close-by denotes the involvement of Pallava and Chalukya artists.

In all likelihood, it is believed that the architects of Virupaksha temple contributed in making the Kailash Temple. And given the architects already had the design and model ready, it would have taken lesser efforts to build a temple of such magnitude in the lifetime of one monarch.

And here are a few mind-boggling facts about the Kailash Temple at Ellora:

  • The Kailash temple at Ellora was made by the Rashtrakuta dynasty as a temple for Lord Shiva. Perhaps, it was meant to be a lookalike of Mount Kailash, the mystical abode of Shiva.The current-day structure is mostly black volcanic rock. Back when it was built, architects ordered the sculptures covered in white plaster to give it the illusion of snow. This made the temple appear as if it was in the Himalayan Mountains. Visitors can still see some of the white plaster today. that’s why it was given the name “Kailas Temple” and dedicated to lord siva.
  • The Kailash Temple is a standalone, multi-storeyed temple complex, made to look like Mount Kailash – the puranic home of Lord Shiva.
  • This temple is a megalith, entirely carved out of a single rock. It was not made by adding stone blocks. This is the only temple in the whole world where carvers started from the top of the rock and excavated downwards. All other rock constructions of rest of the world are made by cutting the rock or mountain from the front and carving it as they go along. This is a common technique for constructing any structure from a rock or mountain. It is called “Cut – in” technique while Kailasa temple is the only temple which is build by using exact opposite technique called “Cut-Out”. Now can you imagine how they managed to construct bridges, elaborated balconies, staircases with multiple levels, underground tunnels, drainage and water harvesting systems. Amazing !!! isn’t it ?
  • The rock temple was cut in U shape about 50 metres in the back, and about 2, 00,000 tonnes of rock was removed to give shape to it. The archaeologists had calculated that it would have taken more than a hundred years to finish the temple construction. However, in reality it took only 18 years to complete it. Interestingly, modern age engineers find it impossible to finish the same temple using the modern technology in 18 years!.This sheer amount of heavy rock was never found or seen by anyone in and around the site. Where was it used or dumped is still an unanswered question?
  • These amazing works of art hide some secrets. Archaeologist estimate there are more than 30 million Sanskrit carvings that have yet to be translated. If experts can find a way to unlock the hidden meaning of the language, it would make Kailasa Temple one of the most valuable historical artifacts on Earth.
  • In 1682, A muslim ruler Aurangzeb hired 1000 workers for three years only to destroy this temple completely. Even after continuous efforts workers couldn’t destroy the temple. They could only damage and distort some carvings. At last Aurangzeb gave up and left the temple as it is.

Some people argue that the Kailasa Temple is much older because there is no way humans in that time period could excavate such a huge structure.

The surrounding caves have carvings that are much older than Kailasa Temple, but that could simply mean that no one got around to carving Kailasa until much later. Ancient alien theorists contend that the people of this part of India had extra-terrestrial help, but there is no evidence to support this fantastic notion.

This temple is one of the most mysterious structures of the world and still remains a mystery.

If you visit this place do not forget to hire a local guide. You will surely enjoy the stories they tell about paintings and carvings.

Mahabharata Panel

Mahabharata Panel Ramayana Panel

Now How to Reach at Kailash Temple

  1. Aurangabad airport is located at about 15 kms from the Kailasa temple and it is the closest airport to the Kailasa temple.
  • Aurangabad is the nearest city to Kailasa temple and it is well connected with them by road. From Aurangabad bus and taxi services available to reach Kailasa temple.
  • Aurangabad is the nearest railway station to reach Kailasa temple which is situated around 30 kms from the temple. There are direct trains available from the major cities in Maharashtra

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