Rashtrakutas Sculpture

  • In the middle of the 8th century, the Rashtrakutas wrested power from the Chalukyas.
  • They created the greatest wonder of medieval Indian art in their Kailasa temple at Ellora.
  • Quarried out of a hill and solid rocks, it is sculptured on a grand scale. The bold and magnificent carving in this temple shows the Rashtrakuta style of tall and powerfully built figures, reflecting spiritual and physical poise.
  • The beautiful architectural rock sculpture from Cave No.29 at Ellora shows the marriage of Siva and Parvati.

Sculpture of marriage of Shiva and Parvati at Ellora caves


  • Siva holding the hand of the bashful Parvati occupies the centre of the composition. To the right Brahma, the creator is actively engaged in stirring up the flames of the sacred fire. The dignified grace of the divine couple and the gentle solemnity of the occasion have been portrayed by the sculptor with masterly skill.
  • Another magnificent sculpture at Ellora is a panel depicting Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa. 
  • The cave shrine at Elephanta is another great monument of the Rashtrakutas, which contains the famous Mahishamurti.
  • The three heads emanating from one and the same body represent three different aspects of Lord Shiva. The central face with a calm and dignified appearance shows him as the creator, the one on the left, with a severe look, portrays him as the destroyer and the third, to the right, with a calm and pacific expression.

Sculpture of Mahishamurti at Elephanta caves