When the gods are involved, there is little to joke about. Faced with the prospect of the eternal sublimation of the flesh in spirit or who knows what else, there is no civilization that has spared the energy to be allocated to this specific goal.
Of all the buildings that each community has planned to build to meet their needs, the one destined to house the deities or anyone who boasted of being able to act as an intermediary with them has always stood out as the most beautiful, the largest, the most particular of all, despite having exclusive metaphysical functions. All the architectural elements, obviously of great value, had to respond to nothing other than the power of faith, capable more than anything else of modifying man’s perception of the surrounding nature.
Faith in higher forces ended up multiplying the lower forces and man, in order to get closer to his gods, became a god himself, in a sort of manifestation of power bordering on the challenge. How else can the extraordinary cathedrals be considered that for centuries have been built in every point of Europe, more and more beautiful, bigger and bigger regardless of the needs related to their use?
And how else can the religious complex known as the “temple of Kailasa”, built starting from the eighth century AD, be evaluated in Maharashtra, a state in central-western India, the third-largest and second-largest in population?
Thinking about it, it is an engineering madness, which has severely tested the skills and stamina of hundreds of workers: but for this very reason, it must be considered a real architectural marvel. It is one of the largest Hindu temples in the country, wanted by the megalomania of King Rashtrakuta Krishna I, and is an almost unique construction in the world since, despite the work necessary for its construction, a huge monolith has remained: in practice the religious structure is it was dug into the rock starting from its upper part, carving the stone shot after shot and forming columns and walls with the removal of thousands of tons of filler material.
The experts who analyzed the superb result calculated that 400,000 tons of rock had to be excavated to get to the bottom. A truly extraordinary example of rock architecture, consisting of a U-shaped courtyard surrounded by a three-storey high columned portico and decorated with carved panels and niches that house enormous sculptures of the main deities of the local pantheon. Inside the actual temple, a pyramidal structure among the highest in India: there are dozens and dozens of sculptures of all kinds to which the faithful turn during religious ceremonies.
To give an idea of the size of the place, it is only one of the 34 temples that make up the entire complex known as the “Ellora caves”, extended for more than two kilometers in the basalt of a huge mountain near the city of Aurangabad.
The first thirteen, among which number ten stands out, the one in which the beams carved in stone seem to be made of wood, belong to the Buddhist cult; the next sixteen celebrate the Brahmana and Hindu cults while the latter is reserved for Janist practices. A sacred area intended for religion, regardless of its identity and that of its faithful.
An extraordinary lesson in civilization, but also in architecture.