World's largest monolithic structure - Kailasa Rock Cut Temple
It is quite an ask for any structure to stand out among the architectural brilliance at Ellora, but Kailasa is considered the highlight among the 34 beautiful cave temples here. Dedicated to the destroyer god Shiva, this megalith carved out of one single rock, was built in the 8th century under the patronage of Rashtrakuta king Krishna I and was made to represent Mount Kailash, the lord’s abode.
The largest monolithic structure in the world, a remarkable feature is that this temple was carved out of volcanic rock from top down. Another cool fact: 400,000 tons of rocks were scooped out over hundreds of years to construct this two-storeyed structure. The temple has a huge Nandi at the entrance and a large linga at its heart and is carved with images of deities, erotic figures, animals, mythical creatures from the puranas and entire panels depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
Every December, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organises the Ellora festival of music and dance at the Kailash Temple.
The caves are situated about 30 km from Aurangabad via National Highway 211. Bus services are available from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Nearest railway station: Aurangabad, about 29 km
Nearest airport: Aurangabad International Airport, about 36 km.