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Ellora Caves Temples

Magnificently beautiful Ellora caves comprise of an impressive complex of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples in caves which was built during the 6th and the 10th centuries AD in the vicinity of Ellora village that belonged to ancient India. Compared to Ajanta, Ellora caves have a little less dramatic setting, but the sculptures are more exquisite. In Maharashtra, Ellora is the most widely visited monument of ancient India and is also considered as the World Heritage Site.


Charanandri hills’ vertical faces have been carved out into the Ellora caves in 6th and 10th centuries. Around 550 AD, the carving work was commenced. During the time of reassertion of the Hinduism in India, Buddhism viewed a downfall and it was the time when Ellora caves were built. The then strong Brahmanical movement under Rashtrakuta and Chalukya kings’ patronage was very powerful and these kings looked after the major work of Ellora caves which also included the creation of Kailasa Temple. The final activity of the building procedure was done in 10th century. This was the time when the allegiance from Shaivism of Hinduism was transited to Jainism’s Digambara sect by the local rulers. Three distinct religion’s coexistence offered a splendid visual representation of prevalent India’s toleration and sacredness. For this very reason, Ellora caves were entitled as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

Carvings Worth a View

The Ellora caves comprises of overall 32 caves, Buddhist caves being built from 500-750 AD, Hindu caves being built from 600-870 AD and the Jain caves that were built from 800-1000 AD. Out of the 32 caves, 12 caves belonged to Buddhism, 17 belonged to Hinduism and the Jain caves form the remaining 5 caves. A rough chronological numbering of the caves have been done. The numbering starts with the ancient 800-1000 AD built Buddhist caves at the end of the South. Also being known as the Vishvakarma caves, Buddhist caves are ranked top in the list of earliest Ellora caves. Except the 10th cave, all of the rest are viharas which means monasteries. These caves then formed the part of meditation, sleeping and eating, common rituals and also studying.

Steadily and gradually, the caves became bigger and elaborate decoration was then preceded towards the north as per the scholar explanation for the need of the growth competition of Hindu patronage. Hindu caves dated from 600 AD are the earliest at Ellora which was the mid of Buddhism.

Cave 1 consists of eight miniature monastic cells while cave 2 is even better. It has a huge central chamber with a shrine that has Buddha seated on a throne of a lion. Caves 3 and 4 have a similar structure. Cave 5 was a shelter for Mahar tribes then, and its shrine has Buddha statue touching his hand to the ground. Cave 6 reflects the counterpart of Hindu goddess Saraswati while Cave 10 is also called ‘Carpenter’s Cave’. Caves 11, 12 are known ‘Dho Tal’ and ‘Tin Tal’. Occupying the center of the cave, the Hindu caves are grouped around the Kailasa Temple. All the caves are a must see and an epitome of sculptural art work.

Best Route

  • Almost 50kms away from Aurangabad Railway Station
  • Almost 55kms away from Aurangabad Bus Stand
  • Almost 78kms away from Chikalthana Airport.

The distance can be easily covered by roadways with flexible cab and local transport services available.

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