When visiting the Kailash temple in the silence before dawn, one can’t help but bow down to the ones who designed and carved this majestic reminder of an unknown past. As it is still dark, it is not the time to wander around and see what is there for the physical eye such as the enclosing high walls of rock, the beauty and perfection of the structures of the shrines, the many statues of vedic deities and celestials, the panels of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the rows of elefants, lions and makaras, the powerful lionlike sharduls or the waterpots topping the temple roofs. All this is for later the day. Now, before noisy tourists, screaming schoolclasses and and groups of pilgrims come, is a time to go upstairs to the holy shrine, leave the senses behind to feel the REAL and communicate in solitude with what is beyond the mind.
Entering the Mandapa in front of the Hiranyagharba, the Sanctum Sanctorum, is entering another world. The sixteen massive pillars, set in perfect symmetry in groups of four, stand in majestic command, glowing from an Inner light. Whispering voices tell to circumambulate these pillars from left to right as though circumambulating the Universe and read the symbols, carved into each of the four pillarsides. Nothing is meant just as decoration, all bears a message to tell. But – how to read? Only the heart can do . For an analysing mind, the symbols remain just that. What if the heart is not open or not open enough? There are keys, some are easy to find, others are only for the Highest of women or men, waiting to be opened at a time when mankind is ready to understand, accept and realise a new era of Life.
One of the keys is easy to get. The Kailash temple is not built. All is cut and carved from ONE single piece of rock, hewn out of the Charanandri hills of the Sahyadri range of the Deccan Plateau at a village, which once was called Elapura, now it is known as Ellora, 30 km northwest of Aurangabad.
Nothing of the original temple was brought in from outside. All was created out of One, all is part of ONE. Nothing stands by itself. All is a symbol of the functions of creation. The Kailash temple is not just one of the many ancient sites the ancestors have left on what is India today. Officially it is a Hindu (Brahmanic) temple but it is more than that. It may well be one of the holiest sites on earth, a keeper of wisdom from long ago, a preserver of the lost knowledge of life. It is there for all who come and want to learn.
Though this temple, its structure, design and carvings have been altered many times, the original message survived, guarded and protected by scores of angels. One can see them hanging in reliefs on the temple walls, surrounding the sculptures of deities or feel them as etherical beings when they come in the silence of the night to keep the cosmic functions alive by singing their songs of creation. Angels are all over Maharashtra’s ancient sites, but nowhere else are so many in just one place. Is this why the Kailash temple is open to the sky?
There are many more temples at this Ellora site, all next to each other. Thirtyfour are open to visitors. Some are Hindu, some are dedicated to Lord Buddha and some to Mahavira, the founder of the Jains. But different than the Kailash temple they are caves, hewn out horizontally, open only to the front ( except for another smaller temple of the Jains). The Kailash temple was cut from top down in a U-shape form, about 50 Meters deep in the back and sliding to lower levels on the sides to the front where is the entrygate. Cut with what? With hammer and chisel?
There are chisel marks along the walls of the rocks, but spiritual masters say, the chiseling was done long after the rockwalls were cut and the original temple created. Were the chisels just used to straighten and smoothen the sides and carve out new galleries and caves in the enclosing walls? The mystery remains. How was it possible to cut down straight into this Basalt rock, dig a broad trench and leave a huge piece in the center out of which the temple shrines were carved, ten alltogether. That these Rocks are full of crystals may be part of the answer. Could it be there once were technologies, using crystals not only to hold information as they now do in computers and mobile phones, but turning their vibrations into energy to cut rocks as hard as Basalt ? Many of the visitors who come can feel up to today the strong energy, as though their bodies are batteries being charged from the ground. Geologists and physicists, who are breaking out of the restrictions of conventional thought have started to experiment with such techniques. They may be rediscovering the Past.
The ten temple shrines are set in one line, all on the upper floor, which one reaches through a narrow set of stairs. One starts from the shrine above the entrancegate which once held the big drum, goes on to the shrine where the mount of Lord Shiva, the Nandi ( Bull) sits all by himself, from there walks on to the small porch in front of the pillared mandapa and then passes through this mandapa to the Sanctum Sanctorum, the small, square, dark and undecorated place, where the holy symbol of the Formless rests. For the Hindus this is the Shivalinga, Buddhists can see it a symbol of Sunyata , the realm beyond form, for others it is whatever they feel. Above the Sanctum Sanctorum rises the Shikara into the sky, aligning the earth with the Universe. All these shrines are connected by bridges from one to the next, symbolising that all depends on all. The entrance Gate lies at the West, so that one walks the shrines by facing east.
Then there are another five shrines, surrounding the Sanctum Sanctorum in a semicircle on a plattform outside.
There are so many questions to which answers can not be given by rational explanations. There are no inscriptions, no dates, no names, noone knows who was the conceptor, who were the artists, how the original temple looked like or why this temple was named after the snowcovered mountain Kailash, 1500 miles to the north. Kailash mountain is considered the residence of the Supreme, the Holy of Holiest, the pillar of the Universe, the seat of the highest mind, holy for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and spiritual seekers alike. For thousands of years, pilgrims come to circumambulate this mountain, praying for forgiveness for their sins of their own and all beings. Many of them even take a dip in the icecold water of the near by Manasarovar lake to cleanse themselves. But then, what is the connection between the mountain and the temple? Is there one at all?
One may ask, what was first? The rocky ranges of the Deccan trap, supposedly 65 millions years old or the Himalayas which seem to have been created some time after? Recent geological findings claim the opposite. One might continue to ask, who chose this particular site for the Kailash temple, close to where a stream runs down a hill and close to a lake, which is considered holy up to today as it is called the Fairies lake. As the mountain has its lake, so has the temple. Then there is the question, what was the intention of the unknown Conceptor? Did he want to create a temple or a school? Did he forsee the time, when mankind is caught up in the world of the mind, forgetting the Origin of Existence ? Did he want to create a place to keep the knowledge about the creation of the earth and the cosmic functions alive? Did he want to give a Textbook in stone at a time when there were no religions, when there were no governments nor human made laws, a time when wisdom ruled the earth, the time of the Krita-Yuga, the Yuga ( era) of Truth? The time during Lemuria and Atlantis? There are findings that Ellora was populated 20 000 years ago.
Science may never find rational proof to the many questions , but at least there are legends. These are legends about angels. Some say, the angels had come down in their ships to help create this Kailash temple. Others say, angels loved this place so much they came to enjoy and forgot that they were told to return before Dawn. As a result, they are now hanging in stone on the temple walls. Then there are copper plates from the 7th and 8th century AD. which refer to donations to Ellora and mention the Rashtrakutaking Krisna I as the builder of the Kailash temple. As most inscriptions in ancient times were done to glorify builders and donors, they are no proof for the origin of the monuments they are referring to. As seen in many archaeological excavations, holy sites were built upon again and again It is deep inside where the secrets remain.
Looking closely at the many symbols and codes at the Kailash temple their origin point to an unknown past, though the sculptures of the deities, celestials, pillars, pots and animals seem to have been done in AD times. Unknown is also, when this temple was first coated with white chalk. Three layers have been found, each time they were painted. Now only a few of these layers with faint paintings are still there, giving an impression how beautiful it must have been when all was shining white.
How old the Kailash temple really is, is not all that important. More important is its message. There are more keys, given right at the entrance hall, though these keys seem to be a later addition. Still, they are keys. Here, in a niche on the left, sits a statue of Vyasa, the Seer poet of the Mahabharata, whose grandfather - so some say -was one of the seven rishis who saved the records of the earth. On the opposite side of the entrance , also in a niche is Valmiki, who composed the Ramayana. Both these epics were written at a time still unknown. They are like textbooks about the nature of the human being, describing the consequences of deeds, words and even thoughts. They also describe technologies and sciences be it about architecture, weapons , flying machines or spiritual practices. They also talk of Deities walking among men. Up to today, these epics are India’s greatest pieces of Literature, written by those holy men who did not create what they wrote, they just passed on what they knew to keep eternal knowledge alive. These epics every Indian knows. They are copied innumerous times, translated in many languages, shown in videos, films and comics, interpreted from historical, physicolocial und mystical aspects , filling much space in the internet .
Passing through the entrance gate and looking straight ahead, one sees a big panel with the Goddess Gajalaksmi, being born out of the Ocean, reflecting her role as the Mother of Creation. Her four arms are broken, but it is known, that in each of her upper arms she was holding a Lotus flower. Lotus was the symbol of the sunken continent of Lemuria, which existed already before Atlantis. Tamil language speaks of this sunken continent as Kumari Kandam or Kumari Nadu, which once connected India with Africa and Australia. Underwater findings proof, that this continent is not fiction but did exist.
When turning to the left on the groundfloor one sees a carved panel reflecting stories from the Mahabharatha and on the right of the temple wall is another panel out of the Ramayana. Both panels seem to have been carved at a time when their authors were put in the niches.
Then one may look up to the roofs of the various shrines and wonder about those vaulted barrel structures. What do they mean? And why are they topped by rows of waterpots, called Kalashas. There are many interpretations what those waterpots mean, carved all out of the one big temple rock. One of the interpretation says, they are holding the seeds for creation after pralaya, the great flood. Are they the same as what in the western world is called ” the holy grail” or sangreal?” These were stone pots, where holy knowledge was deposited. One can go on and on by checking the meaning of the many sculptures of deities, celestials, animals, but one has to be careful not to get stuck in just an intellectual exercise or the repetition of what has been written in many books and essays by art historians, conventional archaeologists and traveltours.
Even questions of much more recent times are not yet answered. One of them refers to the Mogul King Aurangzeb. He was a devout Muslim. He had many Hindu temples destroyed, but he did not destroy the temples at Ellora and it is said, he even came to the Kailash shrines with admiration and respect. And he and his family came many times. He even had set up his capital nearby in the city he named Aurangabad.
Did he sense, that this temple was a not meant as a temple for a particular religion, but a sanctuary blessed by the Supreme, a place where the heritage of wisdom speaks to all who come with love and respect in their heart? Up to now, every day, muslim families and whole classes of muslim schools come to visit from all over the country and stay in awe next to Hindus, Buddhist, Jains or people who adhere to religions and beliefs other than these. By official rule, the Kailash temple is not a pilgrimage site, where priests control who can come. The Kailash temple is under the authority of women and men of the Archaeological Survey of India. Their duty is obvious: to preserve the Kailash temple as a monument to remind and teach mankind.