Ellora Caves - Ageless and Astonishing

After Bibi ka Maqbara (Tomb of  the lady) in Aurangabad, Next destination was Ellora caves, listed as one the Unesco world heritage site and famous for its rock cut caves. 30 KM from Aurangabad, the road passes by the base of Daulatabad fort.
Ellora has 34 rock cut temples representing Buddhist, Hindu and Jain faith. I am simple saying that these are cave temples but the term "cave temple" cant convey the brilliance and beauty it has. One has to visit these and experience. All the caves have been beautifully carved out, 10 centuries ago. Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist, Next 16 caves belong to Hindu and caves 30-34 represents Jain.
The car parking ground is near cave 16. And once we parked the car, many tourist guides and auto driver started chasing us. The entire Ellora caves are extended over 2-3 km, really hot weather that day and visiting all the caves simply by walking was not going to work. Finally after some negotiation with one of the auto driver, we started our exploration.
Most of the Buddhist cave temples are actually Chaitya hall (Prayer Hall). Carved roofs, pillars and statue of Buddha in various meditation poses can be seen in most of the caves. 
Hindu cave temples are dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. Some very beautiful carving where you could see several deception of Lord Shiva, dancing as Natraj , dancing tandava ( dance of destruction), eight armed war like, slaying a demon.


Cave no 16 Kailasa Temple is masterpiece. Rock-cut architecture at its best. The cave depicts Mount Kailash, the mythical abode of Lord Shiva. My further reading about this temple revealed that this cave temple is “single largest monolithic excavation in the world". All the structures, animals, idols, kalashs and everything else that you see in this large complex, including the gallery of pillars has been carved out of a single piece of rock. As per the team of excavation this temple was carved after removing 200,000 tons of rock and is said to have taken over a 100 years to complete.. Amazing!! Brilliant!!!
The last group of caves (30-34) representing Jain religion.


The caves carved by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains at the same location suggest that the three religion lived in great harmony. These are fine specimens of ancient architectural heritage of India. I often wonder the level of the expertise they had in the past. I doubt they had advanced tools but the way these rock cut caves are carved, sculpted and painted is brilliant.The sheer magnitude of creativity is amazing.

One of the many wonders India has to offer, these hidden treasures, takes one back in time to give tourists a glimpse of India’s glorious past.Visiting all 34 caves takes time and we couldn't visit all. I would suggest to spend 1-2 days if you really want to see all the cave temples and want to take each and every details of it..

When we were leaving Ellora caves, we came to know that Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga (one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines) is near by. Hardly 10 km from Ellora cave. Didn't miss the chance and visited the temple.

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