History : Jul-Aug 2016
DISCOVERIES NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 91 it is filled with intricate reliefs. Archaeologists now know the Kailasa Temple was carved from the top down—unlike most rock- cut monuments, which are usually excavated sideways. Taking Notes The Ellora complex has been visited and written about many times. In the 11th century, the Arab his- torian al-Masudi saw the temples for himself and de- scribed the teeming groups of pilgrims there. In the ear- ly 1700s the Venetian trav- eler Niccolao Manucci was astonished by the artistry of the sculpture and the color- ful wall paintings. His writ- ings detailed the spectacle of such huge structures carved from stone. Knowledge of the history of the Ellora temples became (continued on page 94) THE ROCK-CUT TEMPLES at Ellora are known for not only their impressive architecture but al- so their many sculptures and reliefs. Some temples, like Kailasa, still bear fragments of colorful frescoes, such as this one, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. WALLS OF COLOR FRANK BIENEWALD/AGE FOTOSTOCK DINODIA/AGEFOTOSTOCKNGS SACRED TO SHIVA, the Kailasa Temple at Ellora was carved directly out of the hillside to create a breathtaking freestanding structure.