a pillared structural portico in front. In Cave
verandah, and a columned hall with the square sanctum cut deeper at the far
end (6th century AD). In Tamil Nadu the cave style was introduced in the 7th
century by Mahendravarman I. Here the shrine usually takes the shape of a
shallow rectangular hall or mandapa, with one or more cells cut further deep
on one or more sides of the hall.
    The Brahmanical caves at Ellora are notable for the boldness of their
design, spaciousness of their dimensions and skilled treatment of the facade
and the interior. Among the 16 Brahmanical caves at Ellora, the Dasavatara
(XV), the Ravana-ka-khai (XIV), the Rameshvara (XXI) and the Dhumar
lena (XXIX), apart from the renowned Kailasha (an entire temple-complex
hewn out of the rock in imitation of a distinctive structural form) are the most
important. The Dhumar lena (mid-8th century AD) is the most elaborate of the
Brahmanical cave-shrines. It comprises a cruciform pillared hall, having
more than one entrance and court, with the free-standing square cella, shaped
out of the rock, near the back-end. This cave is probably the finest among the
Brahmanical excavations, the more famous cave at Elephanta following its
pattern generally.
    The Badami and the Aihole caves (mid-7th century AD) represent the
earliest of the Jaina caves. Each has a pillared quadrangular hall with the
sanctum cella dug out at the far end. Among the Jaina caves at Ellora (9th
century), the Chota Kailasha (XXX), the Indra Sabha (XXXII) and the
Jagannatha Sabha (XXXIII) are important. The first is a reduced copy of its
more famous namesake. The second and the third are each partly an imitation
of structural form and partly cave excavation. In the forecourt of each is a
monolithic shrine preceded by a gateway, both shaped out of the rock, while
behind rises the facade of the cave in two storeys. Though identical in plan
and arrangement, the Jagannatha Sabha lacks the balance and organic
character of the Indra Sabha.
The origin of Indian temple goes back to the pre-Christian era, and its
evolution into a monument of great architectural merit is marked by
                                  several ruling dynasties from the 4th to 17th