The mysteries of the ancient Indian temple carved out of one piece of rock.
Over the centuries, many of the greatest minds in the world have devoted themselves to the study of ancient civilisations and yet, despite this incredible collective effort, there are still so many unanswered questions about these people and the extraordinary marks that they left on the world.
The Rock-cut Caves of Ellora and Ajanta, Maharashtra, India
Key among these unanswered questions are what led these ancient humans to erect such astonishing monuments as Stonehenge and the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, and perhaps more mysteriously yet, how did they do it? Perhaps one of the most breath taking and mysterious of all of these ancient monuments is the ancient Kailasa Temple which can be found in Maharashtra in India.
The Ellora cave complex is one of the most diverse and phenomenal holy sites in the entire world. In the caves, one can find no less than thirty four different temples representing most of the major faiths of India including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Each of these temples were constructed by different cultures at different times in India’s long history but it is generally agreed that the oldest, and most impressive of all is the Kalaisa Temple.
200,000 tons of rock were removed
The Kalaisa Temple was carved directly into the mountain by the ancient Indian people. It is estimated that around 200,000 tons of rock were removed in order to make the vast religious complex, although some experts believe that the actual number could be closer to 400,000 tons.
According to the legend, the temple was constructed as a tribute to the Hindu god of destruction Lord Shiva by an ancient Indian queen. Her husband, the king had fallen sick and she prayed to Shiva to restore him to health. She came to believed that if she built the god a perfect home to inhabit on Mount Kailash in the Himalayas that he would respond to her pleas and save her husband’s life. The myth states that she only had a week to carry out her daunting task but while many people saw it as a doomed mission, others rallied to the queen’s side. An architect named Kokasa came to the queen’s aid and carved the temple from the side of the mountain from the top to the bottom in only one week. Thanks to his ingenious skill as an architect, Shiva responded to the pleas of the queen and the king was saved from his deadly illness.
While archaeologists now believe that the extraordinary temple was completed in a more realistic time period of twenty years rather than a single week, there are still a lot of questions relating to how the ancient Indian builders managed to pull off such an extraordinary feat of architectural construction.
Today, there are around 30 million ancient Sanskrit texts still to be translated. As historians have continued to work on comprehending these ancient texts over the years, they have discovered more and more about the ancient Indian society. The more they learn, the more it transpires that they were extraordinary advanced particularly in terms of mathematics and architecture. Perhaps as they continue to work at unveiling the mysteries held in these ancient texts, they will eventually get to the bottom of the unanswered questions about the astonishing temple.