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Masterpiece revisited

Updated on: Oct 02, 2015

A new book studies the magnificent Kailas Temple at Ellora from a different perspective

Kailasa, or Kailas, is the centrepiece of the World Heritage cave temple of Ellora. Dedicated to Shiva, this eighth-century temple is a symbolic model of the real Kailash — the snow-capped mountain in Trans-Himalayan Tibet that is sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. The Hindus revere the mountain as the celestial abode of Shiva, the Destroyer.

Carved in sheer rock on a hillside and set within towering cliffs, the Kailas is rich in sculpture and visual metaphor, with the akasha (sky) as a powerful component of the whole picture.

The Kailas’s magnificent sculptures and carvings have been extensively documented by scholars, archaeologists and historians. The great volume of space that envelops them, however, is almost totally absent from these writings, as are many of the moral and religious messages hidden under the stones.

In a new title, The Kailas at Ellora — jointly published by INTACH Aurangabad and MAPIN — American architect Roger Vogler takes readers on a tour of the rock temple. Focusing not merely on its stones but also its untold stories, this book turns out to be both insightful and informative.

Vogler served as consultant for the design and construction of the Indian Institute of Technology campus at Kanpur from 1968 to 1971. He subsequently served as Director of Facilities Planning for the University of Connecticut and the University System of New Hampshire. His experience of the Kailas, which he considers among the world’s greatest works of architecture, spans over 55 years.

The book also has photographs by Peeyush Sekhsaria, an architect and geographer based in Delhi.

Published on Jun 25, 2022

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