The Majestic Ellora

We went to Aurangabad this winter. It is a town in Maharashtra and is most famous for the Ajanta and Ellora Caves that are near the town. We took a bus from Pune at 11:30 P.M. On 29th of December and reached Aurangabad around 5:30 A.M. Our stay was at the Meadows which is a resort some 10 Km away from the city, in a village called Mitmita. It is on the Aurangabad Mumbai Highway.
We first went to visit the Ellora Caves. It was a 30 minutes drive. The Ellora Caves are a group of 34 caves built between. 5th century A.D to 10th century A.D. The caves are divided into 3 categories according to the religion-
i)12 caves (cave number 1-12) are Buddhist Caves. They are the oldest caves.
ii)17 caves (cave number 13-29) are Hindu. They were built later.
iii)The last 5 caves are Jain Caves and were built between 8th and 9th century
All caves are an example of the rock cut caves. They were made by artists and sculptors who cut the rock face from outside to make these caves. The whole cave complex can be divided into 2 parts. The temple/learning places and the hostel for the students and teachers. The caves were actually schools. There are 2 huge double story caves in the Buddhist area with many cubical with a bed made of rock. One was a Girl’s hostel and the other was the Boy’s hostel. The work in these caves was done from the east side so that the caves had ample illumination during the day time. All caves have been dug from the east face except the cave no. 16 also called the Kailash Temple which was dug from top like a well.
The walls of the caves contain beautiful sculptures of Gods and are all decorative. The complex architecture and the unique style shows that the majority of the architects/sculptors were from South India. There are those huge sculptures which were made by the master artists and below these huge sculptures were small sculptures, most of them showing the same theme but were still different from each other. Our guide explained that these small sculptures were made by the trainees/students who lived here. The same theme showed that their teacher had given them an assignment and this was their drawing board.
Majority of the caves are full of sculptures with nearly the same themes but each one is still different as the artist who has made them has made it according to his/her interpretation. The caves are not flawless and there are a few sites where you notice that the architects had made an error in determining the depth and/or strength of the stone. Some caves have been left unfinished. No one knows why and I doubt we will ever know the answer. Still these caves are a marvel of the ancient world and preserving them for the future generation is our duty.
The magnificence of the caves cannot be described in words. You have go there and experience it yourself. It is a different experience and one that I would personally recommend.
The next visit was to Daulutabad Fort…….keep tuned.


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