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Ellora. Kailasnath [sic] Temple

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Ellora. Kailasnath [sic] Temple
Author(s): Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Deccan-- Western Cave Temples-- Ellora-- Kailasanatha Temple;architecture;slide set
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: In spending a good deal of time with the Buddhist monuments particular to the Guptas, we are indeed preparing the way for a discussion of emerging Hindu Art for, essentially, Buddhist and Hindu art are one, the main differences existing in the location of artistic emphasis. In architecture, Hindu building took as its example the sculptural techniques of the Guptas. In the south of India, a special form of sculptural building developed which was organic in nature
its decorative figures were fluid. The north developed its own styles, the very peak of which was not reached until the 10th or 11th centuries when southern influences had, by then, permeated much of the northern ideas. Marking the culmination of the early medieval style of the northernmost outpost of the southern styles in architecture is the Kailasnath [sic] Temple of Ellora, begun in 757 and finished 850 A.D. The temple is literally the 'Magic Mountain' as its name implies, for King Krishna II, who instituted the construction of the temple on a bed of solid rock, said of the shrine, 'How is it possible that I built this other than by magic?' As one can see, the temple was carved into the bedrock by first cutting a pit around the proposed building, then roughing out the general shape of the shrine, and lastly cutting into the remaining rock to form the interiors of the temple buildings and their ornamentation. The drop into the pit containing the temple is over 120 feet, while the height of the central tower rising from the main structure is 96 feet. Several individual shrines make up the complex, and along the walls of the pit are subsidiary shrines. All parts are so completely covered with sculptured material that one can properly call this a massive work of sculpture rather than architecture. The two main gods honoured in the temple are Vishnu and Siva, and many reliefs illustrate the fantastic avatars (stories of the gods changing their forms in order to come down to earth or deceive a foe) of the former, while the latter is shown in his many physical aspects. From descriptions of the Moslems in the 16th century, it is believed that the temple was at one time painted as well. -- Seen from above, northwest. 8th Century A.D. Hindu.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-1425


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