Maharashtra (Inde): the Kailashnath Temple

This Temple Was Carved Top-Down From One Big Rock

Amy Schellenbaum

Source - http://curbed.com/archives/2012/10/10/this-temple-was-carved-top-down-from-one-big-rock.php

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Photo via My Modern Met

Here's probably the coolest thing they don't teach high schoolers about in ancient history class: the Kailashnath Temple in Maharashtra, India. More than 1,200 years ago, this solid structure was carved straight from a cliff of volcanic rock; following methods traditional for the time, carvers started not at the façade, but rather from the top, slowly unearthing the temple as they descended. It's the kind of work that requires a mindboggling amount of foresight and organization, so it's stupefying that the megalith was supposedly built by hand in only 19 years. According to My Modern Met, the shrine was built between 756 and 774 AD and was meant to resemble a Tibetan mountain peak that's the home and symbol of the Hindu Lord Shiva. The Kailashnath Temple is just one of 34 stone-cut religious structures in the archaeological cave site of Ellora; together, the 1.2-mile-long stretch of religious carvings forms a sunken basalt labyrinth of staggering ancient architecture.

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Photo via My Modern Met