This Massive Ancient Hindu Temple Was Carved Out of a Single Rock

by Ane Krstevska

This Massive Ancient Hindu Temple Was Carved Out of a Single Rock

The Kailasa Temple is a magnificent temple which is located in the Ellora Caves, a place located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, in the country of India, and some people even call it the Kailasanatha temple.

This temple has been carved out of a mountain, by some vertical excavations, which means that its builders started building it from its top to its bottom. There were around 400,000 tons of rocks removed from that mountain. This temple is said to be in the group of the biggest monolithic temples which has ever been carved out of a rock.

This temple will definitely give every one of you goosebumps, and not due to being scary or haunted, but because the construction and design of it are beyond everything we believed human beings are capable of.

Carved into a mountain, it is 164 feet deep, 98 feet high and 109 feet wide. So, this means the Kailasa Temple is considered one of the largest monolithic structures on Earth, carved out of a rock.

This temple was dedicated to the Hindu worship, and it has been commissioned by King Krishna I of the ancient Indian Rashtrakuta dynasty. It is considered to be one of the most remarkable and unique temples which were ever built on the territory of India, as of its architecture, sculptural treatment, and also size.

It is one part of the 32 cave monasteries and temples which collectively are known by the name Ellora Caves. This temple is a cave number 16. The construction of the caves is said to have started in the 18th century.

While a lot of scholars were convinced that this construction had been created in honor of the king of Rashtrakuta named Krishna I, on the basis of several different sculptural and architectural layouts, in combination with the massive size, together with its peculiar design, a few scholars believe that the construction of the temple extended over several kings’ reigns.

The vertical excavation of the temple.

The Kailasa temple looks amazing. A lot of people adore this temple, and it is their favorite one in India, as it looks majestic, different and impressive.

The vertical excavation is definitely the most notable and unique characteristic of the temple.

ellora cave

At the time of its building, the carvers begin from the mountain’s top and vertically excavated downward. The architect of this project followed some traditional methods, and this construction would have never been accomplished if those that build it excavated it out of the front. So, this is what actually makes the temple different and unique from some other temples.

There is one legend from ancient times which speaks about the temple’s construction. According to the legend, the kind in the region was suffering from a terrible disease. The queen, his wife, started praying to Shiva, in order to cure the king, her husband.

She made the promise that she is going to build one temple in honor of granting her wish, and she also made the promise that she will start fasting until she sees the top of the temple. After that, when the kind has been cured of the terrible disease, his wife ordered the building of the temple, which was supposed to start immediately.

But, every architect that has been introduced to this project said that a great amount of time would be needed for building the temple entirely, with a top or shikhara.

However, one architect by the name Kokasa said that the shikhara or the top of the temple could be seen within one week. He started building the temple, with the use of the different technique. Rather than carving from the side, he started from the top and carved the mountaintop vertically. For just one week, the top of the temple was finished, and that allowed the queen to stop the fasting.

According to some authors, the temple has been finished for eighteen long years. There were over 400,000 tons of rocks removed from that mountain of which it was carved.

It was said that almost 60 tons of rocks had been removed every single day during the starting construction phase of the temple. Also, it is thought that those that built it worked for twelve or more hours daily, removing 5 tons of rocks each hour.

Although we know how this temple has been planned and how it has been finished, we are still not sure of the limited technology during that period and if it was even available for the designers, builders, and architects to accomplish all that.

Image Source: WikiMedia Commons 

Ane Krstevska



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