is the finest example of cave temples with almost 34 caves with intricate
interiors and ornamental facades. Carved during the 350 A.D. and 700 A.D.,
the rock temples and monasteries represent three faiths - Hinduism,
Buddhism and Jainism.
Ellora is the finest example of cave temples with almost 34 caves with
intricate interiors and ornamental facades. Carved during the 350 A.D. and
700 A.D., the rock temples and monasteries represent three faiths -
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Cave 10 is a Chaitya-hall (prayer hall) and is popularly known as
'Visvakarma' with a seated Buddha in a Stupa. The Ramesvara cave has
figurines of river goddesses adorning its entrance. The Dumar Lena cave is
dedicated to Lord Shiva. Among the Viharas (residences of the monks). Cave
5 is the largest. The most impressive vihara is the three - storeyed cave
called 'Tin - Tala'.
The Kailasa temple in cave 16 is a masterpiece in itself. The temple
that took nearly 100 years to be completed, is decorated with themes and
incidents from the Puranas. Consisting of exquisite carvings, the cave
temple is the most striking one amongst the other 30 at the site. Though
carved out of one single rock, the temple looks like a freestanding
structural southern type temple.
The exterior of the temple is richly carved with niches, plasters,
windows as well as images of deities, mithunas (erotic male and female
figures) and other figures. Most of the deities at the left of the
entrance are Shaivaite (followers of Lord Shiva) while on the right hand
side the deities are Vaishnavaites (followers of Lord Vishnu).
The whole temple consists of a shrine with a ling at the rear of the
hall with a Dravidian sikhara, a flat-roofed mandapa supported by sixteen
pillars, a separate porch for Nandi surrounded by an open-court entered
through a low gopura. There are two Dhvajastambhas (pillars with the
flagstaff) in the courtyard. The grand sculpture of Ravana attempting to
lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva, with his full might is a
landmark in Indian art.
All the carvings are done in more than one level. The lower storey
consists of several large shrines while the gallery along the three sides
at the rear contains huge sculpted panels. A two-storeyed gateway on the
west side provides access to the main temple and the Nandi Mandapa, both
on the same level, and is approximately seven meters high. The lower
storey of the main temple as well as the Nandi Shrine are solid and cannot
be entered. Stone bridges carved from the living rock connect the Nandi
pavilion and the entrance porch of the temple. The main temple has a
southern style superstructure. The lower storey has almost life-size
elephants carved as if they are holding up the temple.
The Jaina Caves (30 to 34) are massive, well-proportioned, decorated and
mark the last phase of the activity at Ellora.
How to Get there
Ellora is located 30 km from Aurangabad, which is quite well
connected, to Mumbai and Delhi via Manmad by rail. Aurangabad can also be
reached by road from Pune Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Shirdi, Nasik, and Dhule.
Where to stay
Hotels are available to suit all budgets at Mumbai, Pune,
Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Nasik, Shirdi, etc. The Maharashtra Tourism
Corporation Holiday resort near Aurangabad railway station, the Ajanta
travellers lodge at the caves and the M.T.D.C. Holiday resort at Fardpur (4
Km from Ajanta) provide clean and comfortable accommodation.