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Ellora Caves

The famous Ellora caves are located in the lap of the Chamadari hills. These historical caves are regarded as world heritage and are situated 18 miles northwest of Aurangabad. The Ellora Caves are as old as 300 years. At first sight, the Ellora appears to the visitors as an asymmetrical ridge of rock, emerging vertically from the ground.

Ellora Caves - History

A wonderful example of cave temple architecture, the world heritage Ellora caves own elaborate facades and intricately carved interiors. These carved structures on the inner walls of the caves reflect the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. These exotic caves were carved during 350 AD to 700 AD period.

The Chalukya - Rashtrakuta rulers (7th - 10th cnetury) were the main patrons of the cave temples of Ellora. Many kings and Merchants donated huge sums of money for the construction of these cave temples. Some religious beliefs and ethical codes forced the rulers to encourage the buliding of these temples. Building of these temples was supposed to give salvation and religious excellance to the kings.

The enchanting cave shrines of Ellora are an added value to the great Indian Heritage.

Caves and Temples

At Ellora, there are in total 34 famous temples carved out of stone. The cave temples of Ellora can be divided into three groups, mostly belonging to three periods: Buddhist, Hindu and Jain. Out of 34 cave temples only 12 of the temples belong to the Buddhist period. Infact even these temples also include the Hindu and Jain theme. This represents the slow decline of Buddhism.

Ellora cave temples were completed after five centuries and were carved by the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monks. These historical monasteries, temples, and chapels reflect the outstanding imagination and detail work of art . These caves are spread from the North to South and look absolutely stunning in the late afternoon when the golden sunrays fall on them.

Highlights of Ellora Caves

The exquisite carvings and paintings found in Ellora are its major highlights. These carvings have marks of Hindu, Jain and Buddhsim expressions. The wooden beams, graceful angles, steps and the mystical figures of gods and goddesses are absolutely spellbinding. They exhibit the creative excellence of the artist of that time.

Paintings

The famous wall paintings in Ellora are found in 5 caves, but these paintings are preserved only in Kailasa temple. These paintings were painted in two series, first, at the time of carving the caves and second, after many centuries later. The paintings of the first series show Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. In the later series the main composition is that of a procession of Shaiva holy men. The paintings also show gracefully flying 'Apsaras'. Sadly, very few such murals in the Jain temples are well preserved.


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