Kailash Temple, Dedicated to Lord Shiva

Featured & Cover Kailash Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva

Formed from a single block of excavated stone, Kailasa Temple is considered one of the most impressive cave temples in India. Known around the world as a remarkable architectural fulfillment, it is one of the 34 cave temples and monasteries that are collectively known as the Ellora Caves. A shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kailash Temple is regarded as one of the most amazing rock-cut temples in the world.

History and architecture

Located in the western region of Maharashtra state in India, the caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and include monuments dating between 600 and 1000 CE.

kailasa temple ellora caves 1The Temple was said to have been built during the Rashtrakuta dynasty by King Krishna I and his successor King Dantidurga in the eighth century. It appears to have been built over several decades, arguably over an entire century, with contributions from numerous kings and craftsmen of the era. The temple is a tribute to the excellent mechanical and artistic abilities of the ancient Indian craftsmen and is considered one of the greatest examples of Indian rock-cut buildings.

Though this is a legend and not fact, the truth is that 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.

The Temple is made of a single monolithic rock that was vertically excavated downhill as opposed to other rock-cut constructions standing about 60 feet tall, 164 feet long, and 109 feet wide, typically horizontally excavated. It imitates Mount Kailash, the legendary home of Lord Shiva. The entire building is intended to represent Lord Shiva’s eternal residence. The Temple is furnished with artistic sculptures, carvings, and reliefs that portray a variety of Hindu deities, mythological characters, and scenes from Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.


The demon king of Lanka, known in Hindu mythology as Ravana, was a devoted follower of Lord Shiva. It is claimed that to demonstrate his power and dedication to Shiva, Ravana once tried to raise Mount Kailash. But Ravana’s arrogance angered Shiva, who used his toe to press down on the mountain and trap Ravana beneath it. Ravana is supposed to have imprinted his handprint on the Ellora rocks due to this event. This mythology is sometimes connected to the Kailash Temple, which symbolizes Shiva’s holy residence that is impenetrable by even the most formidable creatures.

The interesting story concerns an enigmatic pillar inside the Kailash Temple compound. This pillar is claimed to hang in midair with no discernible support. It is said that wishes will come true if someone can cross the space between the pillar and the ground without touching either. Many pilgrims come to the temple hoping to view this act of miracles and receive blessings for their wishes.

Things to Do AT Kailash

  • Explore the Kailash temple and visit the Ellora Caves, followed by attending the rituals and pujas.
  • Take into consideration visiting some of the other neighboring Aurangabad area sites, which include the Ajanta Caves, known as the “Taj Mahal of the Deccan,” Bibi Ka Maqbara, Daulatabad Fort, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites

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