Kailasa Temple History & Architecture – Ellora Cave Temple

Kailasa Temple is one of the cave temples located in Ellora in the state of Maharashtra in India. This temple is formed by architecture and sculptural treatment. These were created during the reign of Rashtrakuta King Krishna I. The temple belongs to the hill tribe type.

State: Maharashtra
District: Aurangabad
Country: India
Deity: Lord Shiva‎ Kailasanathar

Kailasa Temple

Kailasa Temple

Ellora Cave Temple

Built in the 8th century, the Wonder Cave Temple is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.

The temple was built by Krishna, the king of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. Between the sixth and tenth centuries, the Rushtrakuta dynasty ruled most of the Indian subcontinent.

The temple was built between 757 and 783 BC. The temple is located on a hill overlooking the Kailash Mountains.

Shiva has been worshiped as the main deity in ancient times. Therefore, many important temples have been set up for Lord Shiva.

Temple Location

Twenty-nine kilometers from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra is a 1200 year old ancient Hindu temple known as the Kailash Temple. Its main deity is Lord Shiva.

It is one of the thirty four glorious temples built with Lord Shiva as the main deity. This is called the Ellora Caves Temple.


Archaeologists have found traces of pillars in the temple and say that the temple was carved with chisels and that three types of chisels were used to carve it.

The temple is said to have been built vertically from above, and it is said that the main artist who was in the process of construction may have had difficulty carving from the front and therefore even built the building vertically from above.

The study says that about 4000000 tons of long rocks were excavated over a period of 20 years to build this monolithic structure.

Kailasa Temple Architecture

The architecture of Kailash Temple is different from the earlier style in the Deccan region. As mentioned above, it seems to be based on the Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal and the Kailash Temple at Kanchipuram in South India(Tamil Nadu). This may be due to the involvement of Chalukya and Pallava artists in the architecture of the temple and its construction.

There is a low tower at the entrance of the temple courtyard. Most of the deities on the left side of the entrance are Saiva (associated with Shiva), and the deities on the right are Vaishnava (associated with Vishnu). The two-story entrance opens to reveal the U-shaped courtyard.

The dimensions of the courtyard are 82m x 46m at the base and courtyard has a column arcade three stories high. The arcades are lined with large carved panels and alcoves with massive sculptures of various deities.

Temple Structure

Originally flying stone bridges connected these galleries to the central temple structures, but these collapsed. Some of the most famous sculptures depict Shiva the ascetic, Shiva dancer, Shiva Parvati Ravana and the river deity.

Inside the courtyard is a central temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the image of his Nandi hill (sacred bull). The Lingam-Shrine Central Temple has a flat roof hall like Dravida Shikara with 16 pillars.

The temple is full of pillars, windows, interior and exterior rooms, collection halls and a huge stone lingam at its heart. As is customary in Shiva temples, Nandi sits in a hall in front of the central temple.

The Nandi Mandapam and the main Shiva temple are about 7 meters high each and are built on two floors. Both stories under Nandi Mandapam are decorated with solid structures and detailed illustrations. A rock bridge connects the Nandi Mandapam with the hall of the temple. At the foot of the temple hall are scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.


A medieval Marathi legend refers to the construction of the Kailasa Temple. The earliest reference to this myth is the Katha-Kalapadaru (AD 1470-1535) by Krishna Yajnavalki. According to this legend, the local king was seriously ill. Her queen prayed to Lord Ghrishneshwar in Elapura to cure her husband. She vowed to build a temple if her wish was granted.

She promised to observe the fast until she saw the Shikara (top of this temple). After the king recovered, he immediately asked the king to build a temple, but many architects announced that it would take several months to build the temple.

An architect named Kokasa assured the king that the queen could see the Shikara of a temple within a week, started carved a rock and began to build the temple from above. He started building the temple from the top, by carving a rock.

He was able to complete Shikara within a week and the Queen decided to build the temple fast. The temple was named Manikeswar after the queen. Kokasa is actually the chief architect of the Kailasa temple. Many 11th-13th century inscriptions from Central India refer to architects born into the famous family of the Kokasas.

Mughal Invasion

Aurangzeb, one of the Mughal rulers, made an attempt to destroy the Kailash temple, but he was unable to achieve much success in his plans. All he could do was do a little damage here and there. No damage could be done to the main structure.

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