Considered as one of the most impressive cave temples in India, Kailasa temple is a megalith that was formed from a single block of excavated stone. Located in Maharashtra, Kailasa temple is one of the 34 cave temples known collectively as the Ellora Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the person who had Kailasa temple built remains unknown, My Modern Met gives details on the structure’s architecture retained over the passage of time:
Kailasa was built from the top. This unusual decision called for 200,000 tons of volcanic rock to be excavated from the rock. Standing at about three stories tall, a horseshoe-shaped courtyard has a gopuram—tower—at its entrance. Given the vast space and the ornate decorations of the temple, it’s believed that the work may have started with Krishna I, but could have carried on for centuries, with different rulers adding their own flair.
Enormous stone carvings depict different Hindu deities with particular attention to Shiva. As one walks past the gopuram, panels on the left have followers of Shiva, while panels on the left show devotees of Vishnu. At the base of the temple, a herd of carved elements appears to carry the load of the temple on their backs. It’s thanks to these masterful sculptures, as well as the incredible engineering of the temple, that Kailasa is considered an outstanding example of Indian art and architecture.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)