Lord Shiva

Temple History

The Kailasa temple is one of the largest Indian rock-cut ancient Hindu temples carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. The Kailasa temple (Cave 16) is one of the 34 cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves. Its construction is generally attributed to the eighth century Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. c.?756 – 773). The temple architecture shows traces of Pallava and Chalukya styles.

A medieval Marathi legend appears to refer to the construction of the Kailasa temple. The earliest extant text to mention this legend is Katha-Kalapataru by Krishna Yajnavalki (c. 1470-1535 CE). According to this legend, the local king suffered from a severe disease. His queen prayed to the god Ghrishneshwar (Shiva) at Elapura to cure her husband. She vowed to construct a temple if her wish was granted, and promised to observe a fast until she could see the shikhara (top) of this temple. After the king was cured, she requested him to build a temple immediately, but multiple architects declared that it would take months to build a temple complete with a shikhara. One architect named Kokasa assured the king that the queen would be able to see the shikhara of a temple within a week's time. He started building the temple from the top, by carving a rock. He was able to finish the shikhara within a week's time, enabling the queen to give up her fast. The temple was named Manikeshwar after the queen. M. K. Dhavalikar theorises that Kokasa was indeed the chief architect of the Kailasa temple, which may have been originally known as Manikeshwar. Multiple 11th-13th century inscriptions from central India mention architects born in the illustrious family of Kokasa.

Within the courtyard, there is a central shrine dedicated to Shiva, and an image of his mount Nandi (the sacred bull). The central shrine housing the lingam features a flat-roofed mandapa supported by 16 pillars, and a Dravidian shikhara. The base of the temple hall features scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana.


Additional Information

There are five detached shrines in the temple premises; three of these are dedicated to the river goddesses: Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. There are two Dwajasthambams (pillars with flagstaff) in the courtyard. A notable sculpture is that of the Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailasa.

By Train- The nearest railway station to the temple is the Aurangabad railway station. The distance between the temple and the Aurangabad railway station is around 30kms. Trains are also available from major cities like Pune, Ahmednagar, Mumbai, Maharashtra and Nashik.

By Road- The nearest city to the temple is Kailash temple and is well connected with the temple via road. A plenty of buses and taxis are available to reach in Aurangabad to help reach the temple. Also, the Aurangabad city is properly connected with major cities like Satara, Pune, Nashik, Mumbai, Ahmednagar and Kolhapur.

By Air- Aurangabad airport is located at around 15 kms from the Kailash temple and is the closest airport to the Kailash temple. The city of Maharashtra in India is very well-connected to the Aurangabad airport.

The temple is 230 m from the Ellora Caves Bus Stop.
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