The finest Rashtrakutas art and architecture were found at Ellora and Elephanta. Kailasa temple is a great temple at Ellora and has been excavated during ruling under Krishna-I. Kailasa temple was carved out from a huge rock of size 200 x 100 feet.
The temple, the shrine has four parts that are the doorway, a shrine for Nandi, and mandapa that surrounds the courtyard. The height of plinth (heavy base supporting base) over which the temple stands of height 25 feet.
The central face of the plinth has an elephant and lion figure, it is made in such a way that the whole temple is placed over the back of the elephant and lion . The three-tiered sikhara resembles the Mamallapuram rathas.
The interior of the temple has sixteen square pillared halls. The Kailasa temple has a sculpture of Durga killing the Buffalo Demon. Another sculpture has Ravana lifting the mount Kailasa.
The wall was depicted with the scenes of Ramayana. The architectural style of the Kailasa temples the more of Dravidian style. Another example of Rashtrakutas architecture is at an island near Bombay called Elephanta.
Island Elephanta is formerly called Sripuri. The Portuguese after seeing the elephant figure in Sripuri named the island Elephanta. The Rashtrakutas art and architecture reached their zenith in Elephanta.
There is a similarity between the sculptures of Ellora and Elephanta, there might same craftsmen who worked in Ellora and Elephanta. There are big figures of Dwarka-palakas at the doorway to the sanctum
There are pictures of Shiva in different forms such as Nataraja, Gangadhara, Ardhanareesvara, and Somaskanda in the wall of Prakara around the sanctum.
The main deity of the temple is Trimurthi. Shiva as creator, preserver, and destroyer is represented in three aspects by six-meter-high sculpture.
Temples built by Rashtrakutas
- Kailasa Temple at Ellora, Maharashtra
- Jain Narayan Temple at Pattadakal , Karnataka
- Elephanta Caves, near Bombay
The Rashtrakutas widely patronized Sanskrit literature.
There have been many scholars within the Rashtrakuta court. Trivikrama wrote Nalachampu and therefore the Kavirahasya was composed by Halayudha during the reign of Krishna III. The Jain literature flourished under the patronage of the Rashtrakutas.
Amogavarsha I, who was a Jain patronized many Jain scholars. His teacher Jinasena composed Parsvabhudaya, a biography of Parsva in verses. Another scholar Gunabhadra wrote the Adipurana, the life stories of various Jain saints.
Sakatayana wrote the grammar work called Amogavritti. The great mathematician of this era, Viracharya was the author of Ganitasaram.
The Kannada literature saw its beginning during the amount of the Rashtrakutas. Amogavarsha’s Kavirajamarga was the primary poetic add Kannada language. Pampa was the best of the Kannada poets. His famous work was Vikramasenavijaya. Ponna was another famous Kannada poet and he wrote Santipurana.