Wonderful Jain cave temples at Ellora
Cave temples are perhaps abundant in India than in any other part of the world.Nearly 200 cave temples are carved here in different states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa(Odisha) ,Goa, etc. Cave temples at Ajanta and Ellora( both in Maharashtra state) are remarkable. While caves in Ajanta are only Buddhist, Ellora caves belong to all three main religions -Vaidic,(Brahminic),Jain, and Buddhism.
Ellora is only a village just 30 K.ms away from the prominent city of Aurangabad,in Maharashtra.Aurangabad is well connected by rail, road, and air routes.
Period of making
Jaina caves at Ellora were carved from the close of 8th century and completed by 10th century.Hindu and Buddhist caves were carved earlier.These wee carved by the patronage of Rashtrakuta Kings who ruled the area then They belonged to Karnataka and there was their headquarters.
King Amoghavarsha Nrupathunga, who ruled the kingdome for 64 years,initiated the making of these caves.
Five Jain caves
Out of 34 cave temples at Ellora, five are dedicated to Jainism. These 34 cave temples are almost in a horizontal line.Jain caves are at the northern end of this line.these are numbered 30 to 34.All caves belong to Digambar Jain sect.
In these caves many images of Thirthankaras, Yakshas, yakshis, Animals are seen.Details of each cave is given here:
Cave 30 -
This is known as Chota kailas, comparing to cave 16, Kailasnath temple,
the Vaidic cave, dedicated to Lord Shiva.This has fine statue carvings of
thirthankaras, and yaksha yakshis,dancing figures, animals, etc
This is dedicated to Tirthankara Parshwanatha.He is the 23 rd tirthankara according to Jainism.In this cave, statues of Matanga Yaksha and Yakshi Siddayini are beautifully carved.Big carvings of Lord Mahaveera,And Gomateshwara, are present.
This is locally called Indrasabha-i.e. the assembly of Indra-the king of gods.This is finest of all.this has first floor also.Rich carving is seen here. Statue of Lord Mahaveera,Yaksha Kubera,Dhanalakshmi, and many animals are seen.
This is known as 'Jagannath sabha'.This is also a fine cave complex. This has upstair also.
This is a small one.There is a small hall.Mahaveera and yaksha, yakshi idols are there.
These Jain caves are about 3 k.ms. apart from the Kailasnath temple cave, infront of which tourists usually stop.But it is much worthy to to hire a vehicle and visit these caves first and then come to main part of the hill, where other caves are seen.