The Kailash Temple is an ancient megalithic Hindu temple located in the Ellora, Maharashtra, India. It is the 16th cave from the total of 32 caves which are jointly known as Ellora caves. Why it is special? The uniqueness of the temple is that it is carved out of one giant rock and is the most remarkable cave because of its breath-taking size, architecture and sculpture. The fascinating fact is, almost nothing is known about the origins, constructors and builders of Kailash temple, and there are no dates neither, any trace or inscriptions to describe the construction to be known to the world on the overall process and entire purpose of construction. The temple symbolises Mount Kailash as the home of Lord Shiva & hence the name Kailasa.
Apparantly, the exact era of its construction is not known to it. But it is believed that it was commissioned by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. 756-773 CE). Interestingly, Kailasa temple features the use of multiple distinct architectural and sculptural styles. This, combined with its relatively large size, has led some scholars to believe that its construction spanned the reigns of multiple kings.
The Kailash temple was cut from the top down in a U-shape form, about 50 Meters deep in the back and sliding to lower levels on the sides to the front where there is an entry gate. It covers twice the area of the Parthenon in Athens and is 1.5 times high (and bigger than all ancient temples of the world), and it entailed removing 200,000 tonnes of rock! It is believed to have taken 7,000 labourers and 150 years to complete the project. There are elephants guarding the entire place within Kailash temple. There are real size statues of elephants in and around the temple. A theory says, work happened only 16 hours a day. The reflection of sun rays from mirrors were used as there was no electricity in ancient period. However, there are so many inner parts of the structure where even sun rays cannot reach even using multi-layered mirror arrangement so delicately carving intricate designs in such places is done using yogic eyes. Also, It has the largest cantilevered rock ceiling in the world.
The enormity of this place conveys the endless creation of infinite Universe & even to this day when you chant Mantras in the temple, the sound resonates, vibrates and echoes in a mysterious manner making you feel connected to Vedic cosmos, that cannot be felt anywhere in the world. The construction is so strong that several attempts by Emperor Aurangzeb and his Islamic followers to break the temple pillars and cause damage to the divine structure only led to further decimation of Mughal invasion.
Today if we try to build a massive structure like this, we will require an architect who is a perfectionist having in-depth knowledge of Vastu, Vedic science of construction and mantras. The precision with which the sculpts can be cut is still not invented by engineers in the world today. Therefore, we will need manual labors to minutely carve the temple. It will require at least 10,000 skilled workers to carry out the digging, carving, sculpting and materializing the entire structure as envisioned!
This ancient marvel is an example of how advanced the technology was & today we can merely even understand the concepts.
You can watch the documentary on Shiva, the Destroyer here: