[Frieze of battle scene from the Ramayana on the south-west wall of the Mahamandapa, Hindu Cave XVI (Kailasanatha), Ellora.]
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a relief sculpture frieze on the south-west wall of the mandapa of Cave XVI (Kailasanatha) at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1870s. The Kailasanatha is a free-standing temple rather than a cave, 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, the abode of Shiva. Sculptures of river goddesses flank the entrance gateway which is set into a tall screen wall. Behind the screen the complex comprises three main sections; a Nandi shrine, a mandapa, and the main sanctuary. The principal shrine is topped by a pyramidal tower (shikara). Sculptural friezes in the temple depict tales from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and of the life of Shiva. The frieze in this view depicts battle scenes from the epic of the Ramayana.