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Ellora caves: A date with ancient painting on the walls!

Updated on December 26, 2016

Ellora caves are very impressive in terms of architectural splendour which are about 30 kms from the city of Aurangabad. Here are some 34 caves, carved out in a curve on the slopes of low hills; 16 of them are hindu, 13 Buddhist and 5 of the jain faith. And yet no signs of religious hostility disturb the tranquil atmosphere of Ellora. These rock temples and monasteries were constructed between the fifth and eight centuries A.D.

The Kailasa temple, dedicated to shiva, is unquestionably the most glorious achievement here. The whole splendid structure of Kailasa is "an enormous monolithic rock carving in architectural form". The deep relief of the shaivite themes and incidents from the puranas that so profusely ornament the Kailasa temple make them appear almost like free standing sculptures. The Kailasa temple alone would absorb all your time in Ellora. Yet there is so much here...

The impressive double-storeyed Visvakarma (cave 10) has a trefoil window in the facade of the upper level, set off by beautifully grouped flying figures. This is both chaitya and Vihara with a seated Buddha in the stupa. There are dwarfs dancing and playing musical instruments in bands of frieze above the pillars. Next to this is a three-storeyed monastery (cave 11). Exquisitely carved bracket figures of river goddesses adorn the entrance to Ramesvara (cave 21) which has a low parapet wall with a long frieze of elephants.

Dumar Lena (cave 29) is dedicated to Shiva and is similar in plan and style to the great cave shrine at Elephanta.

The most interesting of the Jain caves is 32 with a beautiful lotus carved on the ceiling of the shrine and a magnificent Yakshi seated on her lion under a mango tree laden with fruit. This is a double-storeyed cave with paintings in a fair state of preservation on the ceilings.

Every March, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organises the Ellora Festival of Dance and Music at the caves.


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    • Cleanclover profile image

      Cleanclover 8 years ago from Piece of land!

      thank you Nell. It's fantastic you have statues of the most important hindu dieties. Shiva will protect you from all evil and Ganesh will remove all your difficulties. :-). Thanks again. Cheers

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

      Hi, Cleanclover, I thought it was time to check out more of your hubs, as I have been busy, and i am glad that I did. They are really interesting. I have a statue about 12ins high of Shiva in my front room! And am always looking for more Indian statues. I have a wall hanging of Ganesh, hanging in my hallway! I certainly confuse people when they visit me! Thanks again for a good hub. cheers Nell

    • Cleanclover profile image

      Cleanclover 8 years ago from Piece of land!

      Yes i visited the caves just once. They are a sight to watch out for. There is construction work going there so couldn't check out actual inside of the caves

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 8 years ago from SE US

      Had to do a bit of research as geography isn't my best subject but wanted to find out where these really were it's very interesting info though. Have you ever been there? If so, would love to hear some of your personal experiences. Well written info always makes a terrific read and this is great! Thanks...