Ellora in Maharashtra has 34 Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves, ranging for over two kilometres along the sloping basalt cliff. Of these temples, the Kailasa temple (Cave 16) is the largest one. The legend has it that Aurangzeb tried to destroy the temple but failed miserably. Do you know why this temple is so strong?
One of the most mysterious facts about Kailasa Temple is that no one knows about the origins, the builders, and the constructors of the temple. The entire construction does not reveal any date or depict a name indicating that the carving dates back hundreds and thousands of years. However, there are evidence to suggest that multiple religion like Hindu, Jain and Buddhists involved in its construction.
Kailasa Temple is an excellent example of structural innovation, and marks the culmination of rock-cut architecture in India featuring elaborate workmanship and striking proportions. The temple is decorated with some of the boldest and finest sculptural compositions to be found in India. The sculpture depicting Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva, is especially noteworthy. The remains of beautiful paintings belonging to different periods are preserved on the ceilings of the front mandapa (pillared hall) of this temple.
“The ensemble of Ellora is a unique artistic achievement, a masterpiece of human creative genius. If one considers only the work of excavating the rock, a monument such as the Kailasa Temple is a technological exploit without equal. However, this temple, which transposes models from “constructed” architecture, offers an extraordinary repertory of sculpted and painted forms of a very high plastic quality and an encyclopaedic program,” says UNESCO.
The legend has it that during the reign of Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, the temple was ordered to be demolished along with other Hindu temples nationwide. For the task he sent over 1000 laborers to destroy Kailasa Temple; they worked day and night for over 3 years, but could barely manage to disfigure a few statues here and there.
Ellora cave temples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.