Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Burness Corner: Ellora Caves/Kailasanathar Temple in Ellora

It has been over a year since my last Guest Corner, and over 18 months since my erstwhile travel companion, Burness, gave any of his views. Burness travelled with me through Asia, from September 2011 to April 2012, visiting 14 countries and 22 candidate Wonders. He initially showed some enthusiasm for writing up his own opinions and submitting to my short interviews, but this eventually waned. However, after numerous gentle reminders, I have managed to get a few more interviews from him. Today we have the Ellora Caves of India, with particular focus on its main temple, Kailash Temple, also called Kailasanathar.




Interview

Had you heard of the Ellora Caves before travelling?

No, neither had you until we met up with some friendly travellers in Vietnam who suggested you add it to your list. Ok, maybe might have heard of it, but you didn’t have it down as a contender

What were your expectations? 

I was definitely intrigued, it did sound unusual, although I never thought it would be a contender.

What was your first impression?

I was a wee bit disappointed. From the initial approach it didn’t look that impressive, the exterior doesn’t blow you away, it also doesn’t look that big. I suppose it kind of blends into the rest of the rock face which may make it appear smaller.

What did you like most about the Ellora Caves?

Once you got in amongst it and started exploring the interior of the temple it became a whole lot more interesting. The rock carvings were incredibly ornate and extensive, definitely very impressive. Also, the idea of this building being chiselled away from the top down is enough to make you really think, how did they do that? It kind of goes away from the conventional way of building a temple, and definitely makes it that bit more thought provoking.

The Ellora caves as a whole was fascinating. You could see the history of the caves developing through religion and the different styles of carvings.

What didn't you like about the Ellora Caves?

The external fa├žade was a bit dull, it didn’t give you the wow factor as soon as you saw it. It just felt like, is this it?

Would you regard Ellora as a World Wonder?
Hmm, it’s got to be no. Taking the temple on its own a definite no, the whole Ellora caves complex,, possibly also a no. I did like it a lot, mainly due to the interesting and unique, well certainly in the wonders I’ve seen so far, design. The fact that it was carved out of the rock from top to bottom still intrigues me. But we have seen far bigger, better, and grander temples on our travels.

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