ROCK-CUT ARCHITECTURE

Hindu & Jain rock-cut architecture can be seen mainly at Badami, Aihole, Ellora, Elephanta, Aurangabad & Mamallapuram.

The Rashtrakutas produced the Brahmanical Kailasa temple at Ellora. Badami has four cave temples executed at various levels of the sand stone hill. Cave 1 is dedicated to Siva, 2 & 3 to Vishnu & cave no.4 is a Jaina structure.
Aihole has two rock-cut temples, one Jaina & the other Brahmanical.
At Ellora there are 17 Brahmanical caves & 6 Jaina caves.

The Pallavas of Kanchi initiated rock-cut architecture in the South. They used the available hard granite to cave out their structures. Because of the hardness of the granite rock, there was a limitation on the size of the caves as well as the details on the sculptures.

Mahendra Varman ( Vichitrachithan) was responsible for the Laksitayatna Trimurti cave temple at Mandagapattu dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu & Iswaran. At least 9 more temples were carved out during his time.
Arjuna's Penance
Arjuna's Penance, Mamallapuram
Other Pallava kings also followed his style, with a few differences. Narasimha Pallava built the coastal town of Mamallapuram (Chennai). The Mamalla style cave temples were more elaborate. Monolithic rathas & vimanas belong to Narasimha's period.