For centuries the mysterious Kailasa temple located in Ellora Caves of Maharashtra in India has intrigued researchers. It is the largest monolithic building in the world without any doubt. We can safely say, it is one of the planet’s most stunning sights. Overshadowed by sites such as Egypt’s Giza pyramids, England’s Stonehenge, the Mexican Sun Pyramid and Turkey’s Gobekli Tepe this ancient site is frequently forgotten. Yet this is one of the greatest architectural achievements of mankind, undoubtedly. People dragged massive rocks at Stonehenge and stood them upright but at The Kailasa Temple, they removed hundreds of thousands of tons of rock and molded the resulting structure to perfection. Mainstream scholars say that the region’s ancient caves date back between the 5th and 10th centuries A.D. But many believe that they’re not only hundreds but thousands of years old. The truth is that no one knows how or when this particular temple was constructed because it clearly shows a far more sophisticated technology than what we are told the Indian people had between the 5th and 10th centuries. The temple complex is cut from solid basalt rock leaving this impressive structure that boggles the mind completely. It is said to symbolize Mount Kailash, Lord Shiva’s Himalayan abode, one of the most powerful Hindu deities, and it is only one of the 34 cave systems that have been excavated.
This particular temple is believed to have been constructed during the rule of Krishna the first a ruler of the Rashtrakuta Empire in the 8th century AD. Astonishingly, it took just 18 years to complete the temple. It is estimated that a total of 300,000 to 500,000 tons of rock was quarried out of the vertical cliff and another mystery is where did the basalt go? It seems to have vanished without a trace along with the tools used to build the temple. If you consider the following hypothesis based on the commonly accepted facts, if people worked twelve hours a day every day for 20 years to build the temple, they would have had to dig no less than 20,000 tons of hard basaltic rock in a year, equivalent to 1666 tons a month or 55 tons a day or four to five tons every single hour, and then, of course, the residual rocks had to be disposed and the remaining exposed rock had to be intricately carved. Many who have researched it believe that the structure has been excavated vertically so that the final result could be achieved, the way we see it today.
Historians believe that the builders started excavation at the top of the monolith and worked downwards carving out one of the most captivating ancient temple complexes on earth and as it was a bedrock excavation thus there was no room for error and on close inspection, you will find that no mistakes were made. This is the craftsmanship of the highest order, but some questions still haunt us today like; why did they choose such a hard rock to build a complex structure like the Kailasa Temple? What tools were at their disposal? How did they manage to complete it in 18 years? If indeed the mainstream is correct they attest that hammers, chisels, and picks were the only tools that were used, but this isn’t limestone or soft sandstone. They had to work with highly crystalline volcanic igneous rock. If we had to construct a similar temple by using ancient tools, it would be impossible for us even today. There is no clarification on how it was built at this moment.
The Legend behind the Temple’s construction
The Kailasa Temple was built within a week according to a medieval legend told by Maharashtra’s Marathi people. They believe that a queen whose husband was very ill prayed to Lord Shiva asking the god to cure her husband and in return, the queen would build a temple and devote it to him and fast until it was done. The Queen’s fulfilled her vows as soon as prayers were answered and her husband recovered. An architect named Kokasa was summoned to construct the temple by the queen. He was so concerned about the Queen’s fast that he pledged to carve the structure within a week and legend says that he kept his words.
A Temple that could not be demolished
There is another legend that dates back to the Mughal era. During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, an attempt was made to destroy the temple, apparently, 1000 workers were sent to dismantle it and after three years it sustained only negligible damage in the form of a few dented or defaced figurines. Ultimately with no hope to succeed Aurangzeb had to give up and the temple stood there resiliently.
Some more assumptions
Based on H.P. Blavatsky’s observations it can be said that many of the region’s ancient temples go back far further into history than historians believe today. M.K. Dhavalikar, a famous Indian historian and a respected archaeologist suggests that the Kailasa Temple has been built and sculpted over a long period by different people at a different time like other ancient buildings. He claims that there are several phases in which the temple complex was constructed and finally given an appearance that we witness today. One of the pieces of evidence that historians use to date the structure is an inscription on a perforated window in the west wall of one of the caves in which we find a half-finished Sanskrit engraving carved using Brahmi script. It does give the genealogy of the Rashtrakuta dynasty but all this only proves that the cave was there in the 8th century not that it was created at that time. Many of the inscriptions in this region have been battered badly over time due to weathering and there are no documented claims to its creation like the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which does not reveal the identity of the Builder. The Kailasa Temple does not reveal the identity of its creator either. Whatever the true history is, the resulting Kailasa temple is a magnificent work of art worthy of a tribute to the gods.
Many of the individual sculptures are breath-taking proof of exceptional stone carving. There is a large statue of Nandi a sacred cow in the courtyards that belonged to Lord Shiva who faces a Shivlinga a traditional feature found in all temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are 100-foot-tall basalt pillars, and we see exquisitely carved elephants built at the base of the structure to give the illusion that the whole structure is being borne on the backs of these majestic beasts. Besides, we also find scenes from two major Hindu epics, and 10 panels are depicting various Hindu god Vishnu avatars in the temple’s south-eastern gallery. The temple also has bridges, a rainwater irrigation network, an elaborate drainage system with concealed underground tunnels, secret peepholes that can be used to hide and then spy on trespassers, balconies as well as massive staircases that branch off into several levels of the building and note that it is built from the bedrock with no stone blocks attached. All of this had to be carefully planned before work even began so there are no mistakes along the way. It is a work of perfection.
We know that The Kailasa Temple is only one of several sculpted ancient caves and temples in this area, but it is worth noting that there are also several sculpted ruins in the vicinity that are submerged under the water, and these may date back to the last ice age when sea level was one hundred meters below. Those ruins are outlined in the fantastic book Underworld by Graham Hancock.
The Mysterious Mount Kailash
Earlier I mentioned the temple’s connection to Mount Kailash, the supposed Himalayan home of Lord Shiva. There have been stories related to climbing Mount Kailash and It’s not that the climb was not at all attempted by mountaineers from different parts of the world, but they could not scale the mountain because one the way they were asked to change their way by some prudent men as they knew what sacred importance it holds. But there is something about this place, mystical you can say that will not let you go beyond a limit- it can be weather going bad all of a sudden, getting a call from no-where, some sudden intuition strong enough to stop you. It can be anything! Although, A Buddhist Monk called Milarepa is said to have climbed Mount Kailash. It is considered auspicious to take his name while you are doing the Circumambulation. Setting foot on Mount Kailash means disrespecting the emotions of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Bons.
As per Hindu mythology, only the person with a pure heart can summit Mount Kailash. One has to do away with all the negativity inside him and devote himself completely to God then only he can summit.
Strangely enough, some historians, scholars, and scientists assume that the top part of the mountain is probably the remains of a truly ancient pyramid. Mohan Bhatt, a Mumbai-based Sanskrit scholar, says the Ramayana refers to the holy mountain as a pyramid too. References to the mountain also occur in the Vedas he adds. “The sacred texts describe the mountain as a celestial pole,” he says. Some claim that Lord Shiva himself is buried inside it and that the complex is nothing but “the city of the gods”.
Russian scientist Ernst Muldashev went on an expedition to learn more about the history of Mount Kailash with geologists, historians, and physicists. The team concluded that this is a huge ancient man-made pyramid surrounded by several smaller pyramids. To add meaning to his intent he claimed it was constructed by older and more sophisticated people who knew about things like the Law of Subtle Energies, he said that the mountain is the most important part of a network of older monumental structures directly linking sites like Egypt’s Great Pyramid and many more.
Some scholars also claim that the same long-forgotten ancient people who constructed Mount Kailash’s Pyramid also constructed The Temple of Kailasa and that their association in the name is not coincidental. Maybe we’ll never know The Kailasa Temple’s true past. But there is something wrong with the archaeological interpretation of this temple, either our perception of the eighth-century technology is entirely incorrect or the timeline of its construction is off by hundreds if not thousands of years. However, it was magnificently built and maybe someday an ancient text in Sanskrit will throw light on the method of construction and other aspects of this temple of wonders.
Do you think more archaeological expeditions to the Kailasa Temple and Mount Kailash should be done or should it be left as it is?