Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Kailasanatha Temple, Ellora, India

It has been a very long time since I posted in this blog. I have been meaning to resume but the longer the break the tougher it is to get back. An unexpected break from work today motivated me to post something to get started once again.

A few days ago I made a quick impressionistic pen and ink sketch of the Kailasanatha Temple, at Ellora, in Maharashtra, India. The sketch is based on a photograph in Good Ideas' album Hindu Temples on Facebook. 

This is a rock cut temple carved out of a single rock, and one of the biggest of this kind. It is approximately 1300 years old and there is an interesting story about the construction, or should I say the sculpting, of this temple.

The king of the region was seriously ill and his loving queen prayed for his recovery. She made a vow that if the king was cured she would not only build a temple, but also fast until the topmost part of the temple was in place. 

In due course the king recovered and it was now time for his queen to keep to both her promises. But every temple architect who was consulted said that it would take years for a befitting temple to be constructed. And surely the queen could not survive fasting for such a long period.

But one temple architect came up with a very clever solution. He proposed carving a temple from a huge rock and working from the top downwards. This would allow him to sculpt the top of the temple in about a week, allowing the queen to fulfill her vow.

Whether this story is true or not in all its details, experts are of the opinion that this temple was indeed sculpted out of a single rock, and also that it was carved from the top downwards!

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