Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kailasanatha Temple

Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora, India is an enormous stone structure carved into the cliff side during the Rashtrakuta dynasty. The towering cliffs surround an excavated area nearly the size of a football field. Excavation of the volcanic rock began in 757 and took 100 years to finish. Kailasanatha Temple was dedicated to Shiva as the Lord of Kailasa. The temple is actually a series of caves that have been carved very ornately into several shrines.
Although the temple was originally white washed to symbolize Shiva's snow-covered mountain, all of the natural stone is currently exposed. As one approaches the temple, they are greeted by a series of columns with intricately sculpted statues lining the bottom of the structure. On the top of the temple there is a set of three rings stacked on top of one another. Perched upon these rings are four bull statues that appear to be surrounding some sort of box. To me it seems like they are guarding the structure for Shiva.
(Image from Flickr, Source of factual information Art Beyond the West Second Edition by Michael Kampen O'Riley)

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