Kailashnath Temple is a delightful 8th century shrine, situated at Ellora
, near Aurangabad
, in Maharashtra
. Built by Krishna I of the Rashtrakutas
, it stands as a fine specimen of the Rashtrakuta architecture. It is one of the world's largest monolithic structures formed by a free-standing temple flanked by huge elephants, pillars, podiums, a gateway, two-storied halls and the main shrine within - all carved from one solid piece of rock.
The temple resembles the Chalukya temples at Pattadakkal but is far more refined in its architecture and design.
The gateway of the temple is double storied. The temple has four parts - the body of the temple, the entrance gate, the Nandi shrine and a group of five shrines surrounding the courtyard. There are many sculptural designs that depict events from the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The main body of the temple stands on a high plinth which is beautifully carved with sculptures of elephants and lions. The larger halls of the temples are garnished with images of Brahmanical Gods. The tower of the temple, in three diminishing tiers, is crowned by a cupola.
Around the base of the tower there are shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesh, Rudra, Goddess Parvati, Chandra and Saptamatri.