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Location : Ellora, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Presiding Deity: Lord Shiva
Famous For: Architecture
Unique Feature: World's largest Monolithic Structure

The Kailasha Temple situated near the village of Ellora, 30-km from Aurangabad . It is considered as one of the most astonishing 'buildings' in the history of architecture. This is the largest of 34 excavations at Ellora, which took almost a century. This temple is the world's largest monolithic structure carved from one piece of rock and the most extensive rock-cut projects ever undertaken.

The Temple Architecture

It is believed that work on the Kailasha temple was begun in the mid-8th century and under the direction of King Krishna I (757-775) of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, the rulers of the western Deccan area.

The temple stands on an elevated plinth to attain greater presence in its tight surroundings. This shrine was carved, sculpted in Toto from the volcanic hillside. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, the often-threatening god of the Hindu trilogy, measures 109 feet wide by 164 feet long. The complex consists of entry, 'Nandi' (i.e. bull) shrine, open porch, main hall, and inner sanctum. Variously scaled panels, friezes, and sculpture highlight many surfaces.

It was hewn out of 85,000 cubic meters rock starting at the top and working down, and then hollowed out to form the interiors of the temple. In addition, ambulatory spaces were cut into the rock walls surrounding the main building. The main shrine lies on the upper storey and the lower floor was cut out below. There are several floors within the main temple structure. The carving of this temple entailed removing 200,000 tons of rock

A Mythological Inspiration

Kailasa temple is filled with images of deities, animals, and other mythical creatures from the puranas in a manner that leaves one in rapturous delight. Entire panels were carved showing scenes from the great epics-the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Almost every major deity is depicted somewhere in the complex. Shiva in his many forms appears alone and with Parvati.

One famous image shows the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa. Shiva calms the uproar simply by dipping his toe down and touching the mountain. Images abound even on the roof, since the gods would be looking down from above and would need to be attracted to the site in order to take up residence there. The temple itself is supported by rows of life-size, stone-cut elephants. Portions of the temple still reveal the original stucco, and one can imagine how the original building would have stood out in bright colours amid the surrounding countryside.


Every December, MTDC organises the Ellora festival of music and dance at the Kailasha Temple, which is attended by large number of people.


Ellora being one of the most visited places in India is well connected by all means of transport.


Accommodation is available at the hotels in Aurangabad .

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