The Eternal Ellora Caves

It was back in 2002 that I last visited this place. The caves retained the same charm even after 12 years. Astonishing and timeless. The Ellora caves are situated on the Aurangabad -Chalisgaon road just 30kms north-west to the city of Aurangabad. These caves were named after the nearest village of Ellora, also called as Verul. Thus the caves are also popularly known as Verul Leni.

In 1983 UNESCO recognized the group of caves as World Heritage Monument.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cave temples are carved out of the basaltic Deccan trap which is volcanic in origin between 6th and 10th centuries.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These rock-cut temples and monasteries are the symbol of incredible human architecture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The caves also exemplify religious tolerance which characterizes ancient India. Cave 32 – A JainTemple in Ellora.

Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism – the cave temples and monasteries bear witness to these three religions to establish harmony in their communities in one single unit. Out of 34 there are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. All the caves are Viharas except cave no.10.

During this period the Deccan was dominated by the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. The former were tolerant of all religions. Thus, the caves built in the first half has Buddhist influence. But after the reign of the Rashtrakutas there was a perceptible decline in Buddhism in central India. The caves excavated in the second half has been highly influenced by Hinduism and Jainism. The Hindu caves of Ellora date back to 600AD which marks the gradual decline of Buddhism.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘Mandapa’ at the center of the courtyard is magnificent. The shrine at the center is dedicated to ‘Mahavira’ (Cave No.32)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The main hall has beautifully decorated terrace or ‘Verandah’. The predominance of elephant statues and carved sculptures can be seen in this Jain cave

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cave no. 32 is locally known as ‘Indra Sabha’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The elephant statue, pillar and the elaborate details on each pillar is noteworthy (Cave No.32)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cave No. 21 is locally known as ‘Ramesvara’. It is extremely popular for its elaborate pillars and beautifully engraved façade.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Huge decorated pillars are one of the main features of Cave No.21

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Each pillar has been engraved brilliantly with intricate details

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sculptures of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna on the front walls are most striking – a view from the cave

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shiva – Parvati (Just ignore my little one please)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shiva – Parvati wedding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

AndhakasurvadhaMurti

The most popular among all is Cave No.16. Unfortunately it was a wrong day for us. We could not enter this cave as it was sealed by the police due to the presence of some suspicious elements in the campus and remained closed for public security. Thus, my trip to Ellora was incomplete this time. I do remember the experience of my first visit but will always regret for not getting an opportunity to click some good shots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘Kailasa’ (Cave No.16) is the replica of mount Kailash, the home of Lord Shiva. This is biggest and the most popular cave temples of all. It is not only the world’s largest monolithic structures but also has an exceptional character. Unlike others this cave temple is excavated downward from a basaltic cliff by removing almost 150, 000-200,000 tons of solid rock!!

This was followed by an absolutely fabulous lunch at Hotel Kailash which is just beside the main cave entrance. It also provides top class accommodation along with the enviable locational advantage. The mouth-watering Bengali cuisine and indelible effect of the mesmerizing Ellora caves marked the conclusion. There was off-course the regret of Kailasa. But that keeps a ray a of hope alive in me as well. Some day some time I am sure I will be back to Ellora to witness one of the wonders of art and architecture – Kailasa.

Important Information:

  1. Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Open on all National Holidays. But try to avoid those days to have a peaceful experience.
  2. Timings: 9am to 5.30 pm.
  3. Highly recommend Hotel Kailash for accommodation.
  4. There is a huge parking area with ample space. But it is advisable to hire an auto-rickshaw for the entire expedition of the caves.
Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Eternal Ellora Caves

  1. Very nice narrative and informative post about Ellora caves. And you have us a visual treat with a collage of photos.

    I had long been thinking of visiting Ajanta and Ellora when I was in India but so far, these caves have eluded me. May be when I am in india next, this place will feature top in my list. Thanks a lot for this post 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s