Saturday, 11 February 2012

Kailasanatha Temple - A wonderful story

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"Many times, if you can't think of a solution to a problem in one direction, think of it from another angle"

The Rashtrakutas were a great dynasty that ruled over South India for a while. Among their achievements and feats, the greatest that most people remember and admire in awe in today, is their architecture at Ellora and other places. The most prominent and notable temple is the Kailasanatha temple.

I remember this story that I had read as a child, about the Rashtrakutas that I would like to share today. The greatness of the Kailasanatha temple and a whole lot of temples around that area is that... Well, I would have told you right now, but it is going to become a spolier. So read on :-)

The great Rashtrakuta king Krishna I and his mother were one day walking in Ellora when she turned to her son and said - "You had promised me that you would build a great temple in dedication to Lord Shiva. And I am very disappointed in you, for not fulfilling that promise." Krishna had forgotten it. His mother, angrily said "I shall not eat a single morsel of food till I see the Gopura of the temple." and walked away. For those who are not familiar with the Gopura, it is the ornate structure at the very top of the temple.

The Gopura is one of the last areas of construction of temples. Starting from the foundation, the time taken to reach the very top (Gopura) of the temple would require a substantial amount of time. The king didn't know what to do. He tried to reason with his mother, pleaded, saying that he would try to get it done as soon as possible. But his mother firmly told him that her oath had been taken. The king was now in a dilemma. And then a great architect, on knowing the problem came to the king with a solution to the conundrum. He whispered something into the ears of the king. The king looked at him, shocked and in awe. He asked again, "Can that be done?". "My men are the most skilled artists and craftsmen. Don't worry, oh great King. The queen mother will eat soon". In a couple of days, the king Krishna brought his mother to the region, a great stony canyon like region, and lo! She saw the great Gopura and a saffron flag fluttering in all of its glory. She couldn't believe her eyes. As she walked towards the edge, she was shocked to see that the Gopura stood on a large boulder. The crafty architect had built only the Gopura on the top of a rock. The queen mother's wish was completed, and she broke her fast.

And then began the craftsmen, slowly, meticulously and without a single error, chipping the rock off, and creating the truly magnificent temple. One must only see the temples (albeit now slightly disfigured due to attacks by Muslim kings) to truly understand how spectacular they are. And when you understand the great pains (in those days, there were no machines) taken by the craftsmen to create a masterpiece, completely backwards, you will be able to appreciate them even more - And that is why India has a great and rich cultural past. I wish we can bring back that resplendent glory to our present and future.

3 comments:

Kavita said...

It felt like I was almost there in front of the Kailasanatha temple! Well written buddy! Happy blogging!

venividivici said...

I had read this story in one of the tinkle digest comics some 15 years ago and was trying to figure out as to which was the temple in question.
Thanks for the write up though.

venividivici said...

I had read this story over 15 years ago in one of the Tinkle Digest comics and was trying to figure out which temple this was. Thanks for the writeup though.