The Ellora Caves are an archeological site that represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 35 "caves" – actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills – comprised of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples and monasteries, were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29) and 5 Jain caves (caves 30-34), built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
Visit January 2011
Maybe I was expecting too much: the raving reviews on this website, my memorable visits to Chinese rock-carvings in 2007, even the rare praise from ICOMOS in the evaluation report all had me geared up to a visit of one of the highlights of the WH List. The site did fail to capture me however. There were only a few caves that I found really worth seeing. They all are pretty dark inside and the floor is uneven so you have to be careful where to step. It would be good to bring a torch.
My favourite cave was number 10: a Buddhist cave, the only chaitya among the monasteries. It was used as a music gallery and has fine acoustics. The exterior has a sculptured balcony, the ceiling carved ribs. A window was placed so to illuminate the big teaching Buddha in the center of the cave.
Another one not to miss is of course the enormous Kailasha Temple. An unimaginable load of work that has been done to carve this all out of a monolithic rock. Its size and structure is difficult to capture on a photo. It resembles the Churches at Lalibela (though these carvings are even cruder).
I visited on a Saturday morning, and especially the Kailasha Temple was overrun by Indian daytrippers. Young men ignore every warning sign, climb the sculptures and get overexcited on seeing a white blonde female. While travelling in India over the past weeks and attracting a lot of attention, I’ve resorted to only say ‘Hi’ or shake hands with anyone that looks under 10 years of age. The rest should just grow up and behave themselves. Guards that should protect the structures from vandalization are almost absent at this and the other Indian WHS that I have visited. And that in a country where every public service is seriously overstaffed, where crowds of 10 waiters/helpers/managers/big bosses fight over each other in a small restaurant to bring you one spoon or fill up your glass.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Jorge Sanchez (Spain):|
Coming from Sanchi, in Madhya Pradesh, I entered Maharashtra and would invest two days in visiting two remarkable places: the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, a UNESCO wonder.
Since I was coming from the north, the first visit that I made was at the caves of Ellora. The site consisted on about 30 caves representing statues of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions,
When I visited them all, I travelled to Ajanta, which was more attractive to me and its caves older than those of Ellora. I saw several stupas, frescoes and monasteries.
Ajanta alsoconsisted on about 30 caves, but all the representations, including frescoes, were only Buddhist.
| Date posted: July 2013|
|Avinash Talegaonkar (Dombivli , India):|
Exploring the Teen-tala cave was an uplifting experience. The way it has been designed that the worshipper becomes a part of the spiritual mandala in the third storey is indescribable. The Kailasa temple is a lesson in planning and execution. The grandeur of the temple the way it must have existed can only be imagined. I was charmed by the Gajalakshmi panel, the welcome panel, the platform of lotus leaves and the goddess above that seated in a lotus and the bathing elephants are just superb, creates a landscape of pond with blooming lotuses and cllo green leaves!
| Date posted: November 2011|
|Ian Cade (England):|
The Kailash Temple was perhaps the finest single site I saw on my whole 3 week trip in South Asia. It marks out the Ellora caves as a truly world class destination, and one that should not be missed if you are in central India.
There are three religions represented across the 32 of the complex. The Buddhist caves are the earliest, and have many similarities to those at Ajanta, but do not have the painted interiors of that site. The Jain caves have some particularly impressive carvings, they are not as large as the others but they are finely detailed.
The bulk of the highlights though come in the Hindu caves, which at times can be massive.
The Kailash temple was absolutely astounding, and could easily be a world class WHS on its own, even without the 30 other caves. The impressive style of the carvings, the monumental size and the great views afforded by the surround galleries and hill made this extra special. It was really worthwhile clambering up the hill surrounding it to get a birds-eye view of the whole ensemble.
I managed to visit the caves in the same day as Ajanta and I felt that I did each site justice, visiting every cave and having repeat viewings of the major highlights.
Astounding, don’t miss if you are in central India.
[Site 10: Experience 7]
| Date posted: January 2011|
|Bibhuti Chand Thakur (Nepal):|
I escorted a Japanese group from Kathmandu to Mumbai in 2000. We went to Elephanta Caves which was marvelous, went to Ajanta which was truly unique and then to Ellora and later to Udaypur, Jaipur and Agra and spent hours at the Taj Mahal appreciating and absorbing the beauty. I have lived in Rome for 4 years and have been several times to the Vatican, the Colosseum, fountains of Tivoli, Venicia, Pompei, etc.
Have traveled the length and breadth of India, ME, USA, Japan, SEAsia and so many places. Lived another 5 years in Japan and did the same.
Nothing, nothing in this world has fascinated me more than Ellora!! It is a place of worship, pilgrimage, meditation, study and relaxation!! It is a place to discover your inner self by comparing your own life with the lives of those who designed it, built it and were never heard of again for over a millennium ago!! It was truly mind-boggling man's gift to the world - Voila Ellora !!!!!
If you are a human being in every sense(especially from India) and have never been to Ellora - then you are missing one of mankind's greatest achievement!!!!
| Date posted: June 2008|
I am a Buddhist and I have been to Ajanta Ellora twice (1992 and 2006).I am very much proud that my forefathers were one of the first to give this wonderful carving to the world.I named my building company as ELLORA PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS.I am living in London from the last 41 years but i always go to see my Heritage.There is still an abundance of Bhuddist heritage all over India, even though Hindus have destroyed most of it.Now Buddhist scholars are digging their history and revealing lots of truth.Thanks to British people like Lord Cunnunigham who started searching Why and how Buddhism was destroyed from India.If there was some thing wrong in Buddhism how come it is ruling in 26 countries in majority.Muslim may destroyed 20% but Hindus destroyed 80%.Ajanta was dicovered after 800 years by Englishman tiger Hunter.It was covered by Hindu Adi Shankeracarya.
|Sudeepa Ghosh (India):|
I have been to furthest part of this world, to many countries, cultures to see the Marvels of our times and beyond, but I was missing on this that was lying at my nose tip.
I Heard, read about it, but never felt the urge to visit it as it was at my reachable distant. Finally, I stumbled, while on a business trip. I saw, with awestricken eyes, what I was missing till date. The Marvel, the splendor of all time, all nation, all culture, definitely one of the Human civilization's greatest achievement-Manifestation of man's Creative pursuit on hard rock-Ellora-Rock cut Hindu Temples, Buddhist Biharas, Jain Monasteries-all cut into Masterpieces from Single piece of rock mountain.
Kailash Temple - a rock cut temple cave that is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva is unanimously concidered as the best is truely breathtaking. It's grandour existence depicts highly cultivated knowledge of Architecture in particular, and the capacity to combine Math, Physics with Arts among the citizens of that Era. You know, you feel, you believe, only when you see it...
Buddhist Bihara type Caves in Ellora are concidered to be the oldest among all. Their construction dated back much earlier than Kailash and other Hindu Temple caves in Ellora. Though from artistic point of view they are not so refined like Kailash, but they are unique in their own way.
Jain Bihara type caves were build as Temples for worshiping and Monasteries at the same time. They are the youngest among all three - Buddhist, hindu, Jain respectively. They posses much finer curving on stone and oppointed using of colors to enhance the appeal. Some works are stunning.
I got a chance to visit Ellora when i went for shirdi to get a darshan of sadguru saibaba in September 2007. It is really an amazing experience for me. I hadn't got enough time to visit all the 34 cave temples in Ellora. I visited only 16 caves of which Cave 16, the Kailssh temple is the most worth seeing. If god may allow to visit shirdi again i will never miss to visit ellora cave temple.
|Christer Sundberg (Sweden):|
The Ellora caves reflects the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism between 350 AD and to 700 AD. There are 34 temples but only 12 of them are belongs to the Buddhist period, a certain representation of the slow decline of Buddhism at the time.
The Chalukya-Rashtrakuta rulers were the main patrons of the cave temples of Ellora and many kings and merchants donated huge sums of money for the construction of the cave temples. A temple was supposed to give salvation and religious excellence to the kings.
As a first-time visitor, you are immediately impressed by the fact that all temples, pillars, balconies and sculptures have all been carved out of ONE piece of rock. It’s a dwindling thought when you realize that there is only one chance to get it all done correctly.
The masterpiece at Ellora is the Kailasa Temple. Dedicated to Shiva, it is the world’s largest monolithic sculpture, hewn from rock by over 7000 laborers over a 150-year period. Over 200.000 tons of rock has been removed to create the temple which covers an area twice the area of the Parthenon in Athens and is also 1˝ times as high.
A visit to the Ellora Caves is a breathtaking experience. This is truly a World Heritage Site in the same class as the Pyramids, Petra or Taj Mahal and an absolute must place to stop at when you plan you Indian travel route.
its wonderful. It is one of the best world heritage places.
I have been to Elura twice- and any time I am in India, I will never fail to make it a central stop of my trip. The Kailasha Temple is a wonder, carved from the living cliff. Photographs cannot capture it. Don't miss the small chapels carved into teh sidewalls of the dig-out, especially the shrine of the Saptamatrikas! The Kaila also includes one of the most beautiful scultpreus of Sri-Lakshmi I have ever seen.
The Buddhist caves are fascinating for early Buddhist iconography and understanding. Some of the acoustics are wonderful as well.
But be sure not to miss the Jain caves. Some of the finest of the sculpture and paintings are there, and there are a lot fewer people, so you can really enjoy them.
Local facilities are good- I enjoy the nearby hotel and its restaurant. Also, the local textiles are fabulous!
| Date posted: July 2006|
|Anil D Kale. (India.):|
I have visited Ellora many times when I was staying at Aurangabad. The caves are simply wounderful!Even if you visit the caves many times, you will not be satisfied. will still feel to visit the cave once more! More you visit the caves, more you fall in their love. During every visit you find a new angle, a new vision! So, make up your mind & start preparations to visit the caves at least once in a life!
| Date posted: December 2005|
|Paul Tanner (UK):|
In my opinion Ellora is one of the great sites and sights of the world. It easily enters my category of “Worth a journey”. Don’t even think of not going there if you are in Central India!
The site is situated about 30kms outside the city of Aurangabad. The road to it passes the fortress of Daulatabad which is worth visiting even if you are not on the Tourist Corporation tour (We went twice to Ellora :- once on the “tour” and then the next day by ourselves to soak it up at our own pace).
At Ellora there are 3 sets of caves totalling around 30 in all – Buddhist, Hindu and Jain each with its distinctive style and iconography. But the highlight of them all is the Kailash Temple. The entire structure is cut from the living rock into a cliff face. The result is an enormous (30 metres high?) free-standing stylised representation of the holy Kailash Mountain in Tibet surrounded by caves cut deep into the side walls. As you walk round the base of the “mountain” you are in a narrow defile between it and the cliffs from which it has been hewn. Indeed you often walk under the cliffs themselves with thousands of tonnes of rock over your head (photo). All round the sides and on the face and inside the “mountain” itself are room/halls/caves and amazing sculptures of Hindu gods and symbols. And don’t forget to take in the view from above by climbing the cliff – oh, and then there are all the other caves to see!
| Date posted: June 2005|
|Palacios, Luis E. (Spain):|
I have been in Ellora caves late July 2004. It is one of the best world heritage places. Very impressive Kailasha temple, but also very interesting the first budist caves with the waterfall in front of the entrance to the caves.
|Rob Wilson ():|
The caves of Ellora are truly fantastic. The creator was not indulging in fantasy when looking upon his creation - the Kailasha temple - he said, 'Oh what have I created?'
The engineering and work that must have been involved in creating this wonderful place is truly mind-blowing.
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