Ellora is one of the most important places in southern India. For several centuries it is visited by pilgrims of different faiths. And no wonder, because there are a lot of temples. The most amazing of them — the Kailasa temple (Kailash) — takes its special place among others. It was not built in the literal sense of the word. It was carved in a giant basalt monolith.

If you visit the temple before sunrise, you can see how the first rays illuminate ancient stones. Before the crowds of tourists appear, you can enjoy the silence and decorated walls, which depict Vedic deities. Lions and elephants made of stone, emphasize the magic of this place. It is literally imbued with mysticism!

The temple takes its honorable place among the others in Ellora

Kailasa temple

Photo: By World8115 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Entering the mandapa – the holy of holies of the Hindu temples, you feel yourself in a different world. In the hall there are sixteen columns, located in an ideal symmetry. Pilgrims follow this way in groups of four people. There is a tradition of walking to the columns from left to right to see the symbols carved on each of the four sides. There is nothing accidental: every ledge of the rock has its own message.

This temple is absolutely unique

Kailasa temple

Photo: By Ms Sarah Welch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kailasa temple

Photo: By Y.Shishido (http://pipimaru.dyndns.org/india_2004/index.html) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kailasa temple

Photo: By Rajesh Rane (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Kailasa temple was not built in the usual sense of this word: it was carved from a whole piece of basalt rock. It is found on the Deccan plateau, near the village called Ellora.

It is considered to be one of the most remarkable cave temples in India. Carved out of one single rock, it falls 50 meters down from top to bottom

Kailasa temple

Photo: By Y.Shishido (http://pipimaru.dyndns.org/india_2004/index.html) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kailasa temple

Photo: By Akshay Prakash (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kailasa temple

Photo: By G41rn8 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing was brought into the temple from outside: everything was created out of basalt rock. Made from one single material, it reminds about the religious symbols of the temple. The time flies, and something changes inside and outside. But the most important thing remains: everything takes its origin from a single whole.

The symbolism can be found in every single corner of the temple, and it is very distinct!

Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

Photo: By Sanjay Acharya (self-made at Ellora, Maharashtra, India) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kailasa temple

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There are lots of temples in Ellora built one next to the other. 34 of them are opened for visitors, but none of them is like Kailasa temple. Some of them are created horizontally in caves. Others have one single entrance. The temple of Kailasa is carved from the top down to a depth of about 50 metres.

Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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There are many different stories and legends about this unique masterpiece

Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

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Kailasa temple

Photo: Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay/flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Kailasa temple

Photo: Kunal Mukherjee/flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Kailasa temple

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One of them says that the king was very sick, and his wife asked Shiva to heal him. She promised to build a temple in his honor instead and fast until her construction lasts. The worker assured the queen that he would build the temple in just seven days. According to the legend, he managed to do it…

Based on: curioctopus.it

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