MAHARASHTRA AND ITS CAVES
Maharashtra is home to a majority of caves in India. When you look at the work done in these caves, saying it just skillful will be an insult to the dazzling art. Caves like Elephanta and Ajanta are the most famous caves here. Along with these gorgeous pieces of work, the Ellora caves are something you would not want to miss out on a trip to Maharashtra! Named as the world heritage site by UNESCO, the Ellora caves are located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. Other than its caves, Ellora has another attraction that pleases tourist’s eyes with its grace. The Kailasa Temple which is located in the Ellora caves is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. It is one of the largest rock-cut Hindu temples in India and has a big links to Hindu history.
HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE
The gigantic structure was built between the year 756 and 773 AD by the 8th century Rashtrakuta king, Krishna I. According to the design and structure of the mighty temple, it is made like a replica of the Mount Kailash, the home of the Hindu Lord Shiva. The temple’s design also shows some similarities with the Virupaksha temple in Karnataka.It is a pilgrim place for the Buddhist, Jains and the Hindus. There are in total 34 cave temples in India and the Kailasa temple is the largest one present. As it is a monolithic structure, it is said that the temple was cut in a ‘U’ shape 50 meters in the back and to make it look like the structure it is right now, around 2,00,000 tonnes of stones were carved out. The carvers used vertical excavation method, which means that they starting the cutting from top to bottom. According to the experts, the total built time for this temple would have been more than a 100 years depending upon the equipment people had back in the day. But as per the beliefs, the construction of the temple took just 18 years which is impossible even with todays’ technology.
The sayings about the architecture of this place is that it resembles the Virupaksha temple in Karnataka and the Kailash Temple in Kanchi. But it does not fully resemble these two temples. The entrance of the temple has a special holy meaning. The guard of Lord Shiva’s home, Nandi bail sits right out in the front. We can see a gopura at the entrance and Lord Shiva’s and Lord Vishnu’s deities to the left and right side of the entrance respectively. Once we pass the spiritual entrance, an open courtyard with a massive shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva appears. The whole place has some really illustrative carvings, most of which are related to Indian mythology. There are places in the temple where scenes from the Mahabharata are carved artistically. One should surely think of visiting this sacred and artistically jaw dropping place once in a lifetime. The kind of art we see here cannot be seen anywhere in the world today. So in your next trip to Maharashtra, give a treat to your eyes and get blessed by visiting the Kailasa temple!