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Lesser Known Wonder – The Kailasa Temple

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The Kailasa temple is the largest Megalith in the world carved out of a huge single rock. It is a magnificent structure remarkable for its size, architecture, and sculpture.

 

The Kailasa temple is one the 34 cave temples in Ellora in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra.

It represents Mt. Kailash, the eternal abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas. Its construction is attributed to the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I(around 756-773 CE), however, archeologists believe that the construction had spanned over the reigns of multiple kings before him.

 

The Kailasa temple is the largest rock-cut monolith in the world, twice the size of Parthenon in Athens. The construction method employed is unique as well: the rock was cut top to down. It is not possible to construct in that fashion without meticulous planning and execution with little room for error.

 

It is estimated that that around 3000 to 4000 tonnes of rock was removed for the construction. It is mind-blowing to imagine that simple tools like chisels and hammers could have been used to remove that enormous quantity of rock. Performing that feat would be a challenge in present times with advanced tools and machinery. The type of rock in the region is basalt and granite, which is the hardest kind of rock in the world. Using simple tools would have taken centuries, not years to complete this huge undertaking. Were there advanced techniques available at that time that seem to have been lost in time? Some people even suggest that it was built by aliens.

 

The temple is aligned exactly in the East-West direction with its entrance facing the West. The courtyard has a central shrine fo Shiva and his mount, Nandi the sacred bull.

The shrine has intricately carved pillars, several rooms, halls and a central lingam. It is richly illustrated with scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

 

How to reach: The nearest city is Aurangabad which is well connected to the temple by road. Aurangabad is 346 km from Mumbai.

Ashish Anand

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