Stone carving, a way of sculpting in India is as old as civilization itself. A plethora of monuments, historical buildings, caves and temples have been sculpted in stone. Their immortal magnificence is impressionable as they tell tales of eras bygone. In essence, each one of these remarkable vestiges are an imprint of the reign of great rulers and emperors. Some of these spectacular structures have received worldwide significance. Many of these have also been restored to perfection for future generations to interact with history. Also, a few of these have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Perfect examples of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture, these iconic structures of India must be on your travel bucket list.
The Konark Sun Temple, Odisha
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Konark Temple is one of the finest examples of rock-cut art. This temple, built by King Narasimhadeva in 1250 AD, is dedicated to the sun god. Covered in exquisite stone carvings, the temple is shaped like a huge chariot with 12 wheels and 7 galloping horses. The temple also symbolizes the passage of time. For instance, the 7 horses depict the days of the week and the 12 wheels depict the months of a year. The carvings on the walls of the temple portray dance performances, rituals and erotic scenes.
Akshardham Temple, New Delhi
The most recent example of rock-cut architecture, the Akshardham Temple in Delhi was built in 2005. It is dedicated to Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan. Ancient art techniques have been used to carve into this sandstone structure that tells the story of the life of Swaminarayan. Book cheapest flights to New Delhi via ixigo and explore the beauty of this magnetic structure.
Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Commissioned by Asoka- The Great, in 3rd century BC, Sanchi Stupa has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Teachings of Gautam Buddha as told in the Jataka tales have been carved in stone on this majestic structure as Asoka’s aim was to spread Buddhism through these Stupas.
The Kangra Fort, Himachal Pradesh
One of the oldest dated forts by the Archaeological Survey of India and the only fort nestled in the Himalayas, the Kangra Fort is believed to be built by RajanekaSusherma Chandra. Within the walls of the fort are stone carved temples of Laxmi Narayan, Amba Devi and a Jain Temple.
Dilwara Temple, Rajasthan
The Dilwara Temple in Mount Abu was constructed between the 11th and the 13th century. It depicts architectural uniqueness with carved ornamental details on doorways, ceilings, pillars and panels. The complex consists of 5 different temples that are devoted to five Jain tirthankaras. An indelible work of marble carvings could be witnessed in the details of these temples.
MahishasuraMardini Cave, Tamil Nadu
There are many cave temples in Mahabalipuram that display the rock-cut style of architecture. The MahishasuraMardini Cave Temple is inscribed with beautiful relics remnant of the Pallava Dynasty. Sculpted panels could be found on the walls of the shrine depicting eight-armed Hindu Goddess Durga defeating the demon-king, Mahishasura.