The temple built in a unique style to fulfill a queen’s vow – Ellora Kailashnath temple

The temples of India are representations of our rich cultural ethos and stand as foundations of our Indian history through which not only we, but the entire world comes to know about how great andmL mgnificent were the creative, cultural, economic and social trends of those days which make even today’s futuristic modern technology wonder and look back at our past with great reverence. One such temple is the Ellora Kailashnath Temple which is listed as one of the UNESCO world Heritage Site as one of the largest rock cut temples which was built initially from the Gopura to the base, in a reverse engineering technology. What makes it even more surprising is that it was the vow of a queen which made the sculptors work their way from top to bottom in building of the temple.

The Kailashnath temple is situated in the Aurangabad district, in Maharashtra. This region was under the rule of the Rashtrakutas around the 8th-9th century. The king of the Rashtrakutas was Maharaj Dantidurga. Once, while returning back from a war campaign, he passed through Ellora with its green hills and serene atmosphere. Dantidurga felt a strange calm of peace go through him. He called for his uncle Krishnaraj, who was the chief in commander of the army and expressed his desire to build a temple for Bhagwan Shiv at this serene place.

But, Dantidurga did not live for long after that and succumbed to an illness and Krishnaraj his successor who was also as noble as Dantidurga. Once Krishnaraj and his wife went on a stroll into the mountains in Ellora. Krishnaraj remembered the promise Dantidurga and mentioned the unfulfilled vow of Dantidurga to his queen. The queen thought that this vow should be fulfilled and on an impulse, took a vow that she would not take any food or water till she saw the Gopura of the temple being built. The King was agahast by this vow, as it was impossible to build a temple in day or two, but the queen was adamant.

A worried Krishnaraj immediately called for all sculptors and puts the challenge in front of them.

While all the sculptors say they are helpless, one sculptor named Kokass came forward and accepted the challenge with a condition that no one should disturb him for sixteen days. With a hope that, the queen would survive for sixteen days, the king agrees. After sixteen days, Kokass returns to the palace and mentions to the King that the Gopura was complete. With great happiness, the King and Queen reached the place and standing atop a hill, they see the Gopura of the temple readily built.

Kokass humbly says that the temple was yet unfinished, and shows only the upper part of the Gopura being built. As the vow of the queen is fulfilled, she breaks her fast.

Seeing the exquisite skills of the sculptor, Krishnarj was immensely pleased and he entrusted the construction of the temple to Kokass. With 2000 artisans and sculptors, the Kailashnath temple was built in a marvellous way digging its base in the rocks from the top to the bottom as a huge structure encompassing of 34 caves within its complex. This reverse engineering technology of building the temple is a wonder and a mystery to the present engineering marvels too. A vow of a queen had given a new way of sculpting a temple, and its glory remains eternal till date.