Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

Much closer to Aurangabad (30 km or about 45 minutes by car) are the Ellora Caves. Like the Ajanta Caves, they are a World Heritage Site but geographically, stylistically and even thematically, they are different. The Ellora Caves are Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. They line a gentle, sloping hill which allowed for courtyards to be built in front of some of the temples. Of the 34 caves, the Buddhist caves date from 600-800 AD, the Hindu from 600-900 AD and the Jain from 800-1000 AD. Personally, I found it amazing that not only these three religions coexisted but were co-constructed. My mom and I were in awe of the huge Hindu Kailasa Temple. It is labeled as Cave 16 and it is the first one you see upon entering the grounds. It has a large facade and once you pass through the entry way, there is the enormous temple and, as stated in my Lonely Planet guide, "the world's largest monolithic sculpture, hewn top to bottom from the rock by 7000 labourers over a 150-period." As I said, we stood in awe.

There really was no way to capture the beauty or size of this cave, but here are some shots:

And, that's just Cave are some photos from the other caves:

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