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Ellora

Ellora (ĕlōˈrə) [key], village, E central Maharashtra state, India. Extending more than 1 mi (1.6 km) on a hill are 34 rock and cave temples (5th–13th cent.), most of them Hindu but some Buddhist and Jain. The most remarkable building is the great Kailasa temple, excavated on the instructions of the king Krishna I (reigned c.756–773). Dedicated to the god Shiva, who is enshrined as a giant lingam in the innermost sanctuary, the temple is a free-standing structure, carved like a statue from the surrounding hillside. The rear wall of its excavated courtyard (276 ft x 154 ft/84 m x 47 m) is 100 ft (30 m) high. The temple proper (164 ft x 109 ft/50 m x 33 m) was carved from a single mass of rock. The roof of its central hall is supported by 16 square columns. Mythological and animal figures are profusely carved on nearly all the surfaces. One of India's greatest architectural treasures, the temple attracts thousands of tourists annually.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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