Indian Architecture

Indian Architecture


The Dravidian or Pallava style was adopted by the Rashtrakuta Rulers also as can be seen in the famous Kailash Temple at Ellora near Aurangabad (Maharashtra).  There are three groups of rock cut temples in Ellora – Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical. 

The Kailash Temple is a marvelous piece of rock architecture and sculpture.  It was built by the Rashtrakuta King Krishna 1 in the 8th Century A.D.  A complete hillside has been separated from a range of mountains and a huge temple excavated out of it.  The main temple is supported on the backs of elephants.  The Shikhara is elaborately carved.  The temple has an entrance gateway, a Nandi shrine and five other shrines surrounding the courtyard.   The main shrine has a large hall with beautifully carved pillars and a pyramidal Dravidian Shikhara.  Beautiful sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, episodes from the Epics and Puranas adorn the temple.  The Dasavatara gallery showing the ten incarnations of Vishnu is a masterpiece of architecture.  There are a number of caves excavated from the hill sides around the temple which contain large halls with images of Hindu Gods. 

Percy Brown says that the Kailash temple is “an illustration of one of those rare occasions when men’s minds, hearts and hands work in unison towards the consummation of a supreme ideal”.

Kailasa Temple, Ellora

(Picture courtesy Archaeological Survey of India)

The cave temples on the island of Elephants near Bombay were also built by the Rashtrakuta Rulers. The main cave temple belonging to the brahminical group of cave temples is dedicated to Shiva and is noted for its fine sculpture. The temple has a large mandapa supported on twenty pillars on the periphery. Flights of steps lead to it from the courtyards in front and at the back. The temple is famous for the huge Trimurti depicting the three aspects of the Supreme Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. On the southern side is a smaller cave temple of Durga.