This entry was posted on 2/25/2008 1:35 AM and is filed under India.
The seventeen Hindu Caves in the center of these monolithic structure are numbered 13-29. Construction began on them in the 7th century. Many of them are so complex that they took several generations to complete. Building this remarkable Temple necessitated the removal of over 200 tons of rocks and took 100 years to complete.
Cave 16 is the largest monolithic structure in the world and is the magnificent and breath-taking Hindu Kailasa temple. It is the centerpiece of this fantastic series of caves. It was made to recall the famous Mt. Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. In these Hindu temples we discovered larger-than-life carved images of deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and other gods and goddesses, along with countless gorgeous devis beside them. It was carved out of one piece of rock and is twice the size of the Parthenon in Greece.
Notice the overhanging rock extending over the 2nd story of this courtyard...
There were also many carvings of elephants (Ganeshes - remover of
obstacles), some even life size that were sculpted to look like they were holding up the Temple...
Joss and Momma E doing the Tree Pose in front of the Nataraj...
There were 3 stories of room after
room filled with beautiful sculptures, friezes and murals, many of them
still in very good condition.
In the center of the Kailasa temple was a long deep room with light coming from the very end of it. We took off our shoes before entering this mysterious cavern-like room and found a very large lingam sculpture sitting in a yoni bowl to symbolize the union of male and female. The yoni bowl was used in the ritual bathing, called abishek, to catch the flow of water that was used to wash the lingam. It was decorated with flowers and exuded a powerful energy.