Notes and thoughts on the sculptural program of the gopuram of the Shri Kailasha temple of Ellora.
Although Christel has not posted photos, I expect that at numbers 5 and 6 there will also be some kind of guardian figure. If there is it would mean the passage has the same number of reliefs/murtis as both the outer wings, twelve in all. I don’t think this is accidental.
The position of Ganesha and Durga reminds of their traditional place on a South Indian temple. In the South we find Ganesha on the south facing wall of the ardhamandapa (structure in front of the garbhagriha) and Durga on the opposite side, the north facing wall of the ardhamandapa. Here they are on the inside passage of the gopuram, but still facing in the same directions.
The number and position of doorguardians, dvarapalas, is remarkable. There are two sets (maybe three? depending on whether there may be another set at position 5 and 6) facing inward, to the temple. The ones carved almost in the round framing the entrance proper, not yet positioned here. And the pair at position 9 and 10. Shallow reliefs on what can be called the doorjamb in a very different style from the two at the outer entrance.
Gopuram Central Passageway (green numbers)
CP 01. Vyasa Rishi
CP 02. Valmiki Rishi
CP 03. ? guardian figure, unidentified
CP 04. ? guardian figure, unidentified
CP 05. ? no photo available, could somebody post?
CP 06. ? no photo available, could somebody post?
CP 07. Padma Nidhi
CP 08. Shankha Nidhi
CP 09. Dvarapala
CP 10. Dvarapala
CP 11. Ganesha
CP 12. Durga Mahishuramardini