Ellora caves are a collection of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist caves built from 5th to 12th century and located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Ellora caves are situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. It is basically an archaeological site spanned over an area of 29 kilometers. Ellora caves are also under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
They are a popular tourist attraction in the Maharashtra State of India and are found in the same place where the famous Buddhist Ajanta Caves are found.
Ellora caves are famous for representing the famous architecture of India that is the rock-cut architecture.
If you are visiting the state of Maharashtra then the Ellora caves are a must-visit. They are the jewel of Maharashtra and depict the Indian lifestyle in ancient times. These are spiritual places of Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu cultures.
Ellora Caves Information
History of Ellora Caves
As discussed earlier these caves are a collection of temples. In totality there are 34 caves 12 of which belong to Buddhist culture, 17 are Hindu caves and 5 are Jain caves. All these 34 caves are built in very close proximity to each other.
These caves are believed to be built by the Rashtrakuta Dynasty. They were nonexistent for a very long time until they were excavated out from the face of the Charanandri hills.
These rock-cut caves depict the religious harmony in India which prevailed during the 5th to the 10th century.
The caves used to be the mathas and viharas of various Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monks and saints. These caves are very important to the ancient Indian Civilization and are therefore protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Architecture of Ellora Caves
Architecture can be divided into 3 parts:
1. Buddhist Caves
This cave was basically a “vihara” or an abode with a total of 8 cells. Four cells on the front wall and four cells on the right wall with a portico in front of each. This is generally cave 1. The Buddhist caves were built between the 5th to the 7th century.
These caves served the purpose of monasteries to the Buddhist monks. Some caves even have shrines of monks and carvings of Buddhism teachings along with paintings of the story of Lord Buddha. Vishwakarma Cave is the most popular Buddhist cave.
2. Hindu Caves
The construction of Hindu Caves took place between 6th to 8th centuries. The construction of the Hindu caves was divided into two periods, the earliest caves were built in the Kalachuri period while the later caves were built in the Rashtrakuta period.
Some of the arts and architectures of the cave show that it took several generations of labor to complete the caves.
Some popular Hindu caves include The Kailasanatha, The Dashavatara, The Rameshvara, Dhumar Lena, Ravan ki Khai, Nilkantha Cave, Kumbharvada Cave, Gopilena Cave, etc.
Each cave has a different story associated with it. Each depicting a different Indian mythology reference. There is a total of 17 Hindu caves.
Also, read: Monuments of India
3. Jain Caves
There is a total of 5 caves in Jain Caves. They were built a little after the Buddhist and Hindu caves. Their construction started a little after the 10th century.
The caves belong to “Digambara” sect of Jainism. The Indra Sabha is the most popular Jain cave.