Kailasa – The Temple That Shouldn't Be – Weekly Wonder #9

The Kailasa temple is an ancient Hindu temple made out of rock. The reason it gets featured as a weekly wonder is because of its bizarre construction. Its structural design and complexity, is something that even today we would struggle to accomplish.

Looking at historical buildings and constructions is something that even non historical writers should be doing. History is rife with anomalies and inconsistencies, which even with a hint of imagination can send you off in bizarre directions.

The Kailasa temple is shrouded in mystery.

Usually buildings are constructed from the ground up. The first brick is laid on top of foundations and then you continue placing them on top of each other until you reach the highest floor where you stop and attach a roof. This is how we build, in every country, in every continent across the world.

But the Kailasa wasn’t built like that.

The Kailasa was built top down. Yeah. Seriously. They carved from the top of a mountain down towards the Earth. I can barely get my head around that, I can’t comprehend the foresight needed to understand structurally how to build top to bottom. This means over 400,000 tonnes of rock had to be scooped out to leave the carvings. This would have taken years and years and years to do without advanced technology.

Yet the building was constructed in just 18 years.

In the video below, the man speaking does the simple math, and breaks it down to how much rock would need to be removed. Based on people working every day for 12 hours a day without breaks. That equates to: 22,000 tonnes a year, 60 tonnes a day, 5 tonnes an hour… umm……

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no architect, I am just presenting the information I have found, so if you are an architectural genius, feel free to disagree, these aren’t my arguments.

The video also brings up other interesting facts – a king tried to destroy the temple, 1000 of his people tried to destroy the temple, they worked for 3 years and barely scratched the sculptures. Interestingly architects seem to think 3 types of chisel were used to create it. If chisels were used to create it, then why couldn’t the same chisels be used to destroy it…? Just asking.

Even more interesting is the point that, to create a structure like this, is more difficult and would require a higher sophistication of structural engineering than building from the bottom up. Yeah, to create a building like this, requires more brain power, techniques and engineering feats than how we build today. So why, if we built like this before, do we not build like this today?

That, is an interesting question. It’s almost like we lost the technology. Vanished into thin air. *shrug*

Watch this video – it’s 9 minutes 20 so won’t take up much of your time.

Where do you get your inspiration? Let me know in the comments.

I bang on about these weekly wonders as a huge source of inspiration. For me, I have to look for the weird in the world, anything out of the ordinary immediately sparks of a flurry of ideas.

I wanted to think about the ‘why’ behind these posts.

I write them because I used to get stuck just looking at things I know about and already understand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still find beauty in the curves of the waves on an angry ocean or the plush greens of forests. But they help me describe things in my stories and help me get depth to my imagery and visuals.

Image curtsey of google

Image curtsey of google

What they don’t do, is spark ideas, or twists. By that I mean, thinking about this building makes my mind race all over the place. I wondered about a race of beings that only eat buildings. Snaffling the roof first and then gobbling the building whole – a bit like scooby doo and his sarnies. Wait what? How did I get from an ancient temple, to scooby doo… do you see my point?

Or what about another race of beings that flies over the planet using a beam to drop buildings in place, carving buildings out of thin air, to help save species, the ultimate green utopia – a building made of everything and nothing. What if they had an ulterior motive…I’m not saying these two ideas are amazing and perfect for a story, but I am saying they aren’t what I’d normally think of.

Whilst I love forests and oceans for the quality of metaphors they help me get, they don’t (for me) give me that something extra, the twists the uniqueness to stories.

When was the last time you investigated something different? Did it give you ideas? Where do you get that little bit extra from that makes your story special?

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54 comments

  1. Loved the video, this is what interests me greatly. Which takes me onto the last time I investigated something different. I was researching for a short story and began by looking into sound vibrations and how they affect people. Extremely low frenquencies can have a drastic affect on the mind. This research led to finding out about the hydron collider and then Lord Shiva when he dances the destruction of the Earth only to rebuild it. This in turn led to the short story Vorn. I missed the deadline for the short story competition but this story is one of my all time favourites. Its on my blog if you want to read it,

    1. Wow, thats awesome, send me the link and I will have a read. I have actually researched sound propulsion – it was the first ever weekly wonder I did: http://sachablack.co.uk/2015/08/10/the-mystery-of-sound-propulsion-coral-castle-and-the-pyramids/

      I hear it is used for healing purposes too.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I think there is a lot we don’t know, especially about the properties of sound. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment, looking forward to the link to your story 😀

  2. You know I love this stuff, Sacha. It’s a fascinating place, that’s for sure – I can’t believe it was carved out of a mountain! Lots of story ideas lie in these archaeological anomalies, and there are loads of them.

      1. Oh yes, I love things that get me thinking. Have you read about the half a million tonnes of copper mined in the North American Great Lakes region several thousand year ago? No one seems to know who did it, where it went or why…

    1. We must have, because the people of a few thousand years ago seem to know more than we do now! I can’t explain it. I think its odd that we went through a period of almost ‘de-evolution’ don’t you think?

  3. That’s mind-boggling, Sacha. And it’s no ordinary building either – it’s art. The world is full of wonders.

    My inspiration comes from alcohol. Just kidding. I don’t know where it comes from. Weird things just pop into my head. Ha ha. I do love the question…what if?

    1. I know right it’s stunning it’s not like they just excavated 400,000 tonnes of rock they carved it into a work of architectural beauty. Proper mind blowing.

      😂😂😂😂 alcohol!!! Mega lols! The what if question is really handy, I’m a bit shit at using it though as you need to know what the what ifs are to ask the question! If u see what I mean!

  4. I agree with you. So much knowledge was somehow ‘lost’ in the last couple of thousand years. Why? What happened? How did it happen? People through the ages pass knowledge on, often in stories, so where did they go? What stopped people from doing that? This Temple looks a phenomenal place, I would love to stand there and contemplate what drove people to build it, and how. Another great mindblowing post, Sacha.

  5. Diana hit the nail on the head with her comment about this, Sacha. She mentioned the word ‘Art’. I’m sure I’ve seen sculptures work from the top to the bottom and we do after all write from the top and work our way down. So, is the way this temple was built really that unusual?
    Nevertheless, it’s fascinating stuff and it certainly does get the mind thinking.

    1. Err yeah!! Did u watch the video?? They carved a mountain out to make the temple. Normally you build brick on brick. They would have had to understood every carve and line before they built it – all those elephants EVERYTHING is made from one piece of stone, there are no joins even the bridges stairs and sculptures are all attached! It’s mind blowing! And we don’t have the capability to make buildings like that now. That’s why it’s a weekly wonder because it took more architectural genius to build than we have now!! We couldn’t make it now……!

      1. Yes I did, but now you’re getting more into how it was built in terms of being put together rather than from building from the top? I agree with building from the bottom when it’s brick on brick, but I tend to think this is more a work of art. I know buildings can be a work of art and there are awards for them etc, but I can see why this temple was probably built from the top.

  6. Wow! I can not begin to think this was built by mere humans. Impossible! This is an interesting post, inviting us to let our minds question what we were taught as children about slaves building structures such as this, the Sphinx, and the great pyramids. I remember pictures in history books that were drawn to illustrate slaves pulling chiseled blocks of stone into place. Many people would argue that extraterrestrials even exist and therefore would defend the outdated history books of my youth. Fascinating! I am going to have to read more about this and share with my grandsons.
    I am getting a clearer picture of how your mind works, my dear.

    1. Interesting, one of the most vivid images I have from travelling and being in the himalayas was of a guy sat chiseling rock to build a house. That sound is something I can still hear so clearly 10 years on. I am not sure I want to admit to definitely thinking extraterrestrials are the answer for everything unanswered. I am not opposed to thinking there was a race that had advance technology, I just want to know what happened to it. I think there are a lot of unanswered questions, with very little conclusive proof one way or another. But it’s in the weird that I find the spark of inspiration!

  7. Fascinating as ever, Sacha. My personal take on it will be a more advanced civilisation that was responsible, but only because it fits in with some of the themes to my own stories. I can use this as “evidence” to support those themes. Another one to go on Flipboard for reference!

    1. Why Graeme, I’m not opposed to that suggestion either to be fair. Whether homegrown or not, we can’t do it now, so something had to have happened to lose our intelligence. Interested on the themes it fits 😀 ooh I am on clipboard, I will have to try and find you.

  8. Ancient wonders are so fascinating. My mind goes to those 18 years of the temples construction. Who took part in the making of it, what were they thinking, what were their lives, struggles, and dreams?

    You certainly do have the gift, Sasha, of churning imagination!

    1. Hey Lori, lovely to see you here and thank you for commenting. Did you get your article accepted in the end? Glad you like the ancient wonders, its a bit of an obsession for me! Thanks for the lovely compliment and I am glad you think it sparks the imagination 😀

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