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.
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.
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.
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.
- Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Open on all National Holidays. But try to avoid those days to have a peaceful experience.
- Timings: 9am to 5.30 pm.
- Highly recommend Hotel Kailash for accommodation.
- 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.