Kailas fr. hill N.W. corner [View of Hindu rock-cut temple, Cave XVI (Kailasanatha), from the north-west corner, Ellora.]
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Hindu rock-cut temple Kailasanatha (Cave XVI) from the north-west corner, at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1870s. The Kailasanatha is entirely sculpted out of a great mass of basalt. Patronized by different rulers of the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the mid-8th century, it symbolizes Mount Kailasa, abode of Shiva. A tall screen with an entrance gateway obscures the exterior of the temple. Sculptures of river goddesses mark the route to the three sections of the temple (a Nandi shrine, a mandapa, and the main sanctuary). The principal shrine is topped by a shikara, or pyramidal tower. Sculptural friezes in the temple depict tales from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the life of Shiva. Two monolithic obelisks are situated on either side of the main temple. They are both 17 m (56ft) high and decorated with relief carvings.