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Ellora Caves - get a glimpse of the architectural prowess of ancient Indian artists, an Indian World

Located near Aurangabad, the caves of Ellora are a fine specimen of architecture, containing sculptures from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain belief systems.

There are in total 34 caves in Ellora with sculptures in these caves dating between the 6th and 11th centuries.

Cave 16 contains the most popular sculpture in Ellora, the life-size structure of Lord Shiva in his abode at Kailash. Here you will experience Lord Shiva in his full glory with all his accomplices serving the lord. Also known as the temple of Kailash, the structure is twice the size of the Greek pantheon. The Kailash Temple holds the record for being one of the single largest monolithic Rock sculptures excavated in human history.

Another famous cave is cave number 10 which is a Buddhist cave containing a 15-foot statue of Lord Buddha. This cave is also known as the carpenter's cave because of its wooden finish. The Jain caves depict various stories of Jainism and contain intricately carved sculptures of Yaksha and Yakshi and other Jain gods and goddesses.

Cave number 32 is another cave that is worthwhile seeing. It contains a magnificent image of Indra in a dancing position. The detailing of the 8 and 12 arms of Indra will leave you awe-struck. These arms represent the various dancing poses of Indra.

The other caves contain various sculptures of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Saraswati, Ganga, Agni, Varun, Surya Dev, and other Hindu gods. The exquisite artistry of these sculptures surprises many modern-day artists as all the sculptures in these caves have been made only using hammer and chisel.

The magnificent sculptures were made by Buddhists, Jain and Hindu monks who used these caves as stoppage points during their pilgrimage journeys. The nearest city to Ellora caves is the city of Aurangabad which is only 27 km from Ellora. State transport, as well as private buses, ply between Aurangabad and Ellora caves, you could also hire a cab to Ellora from Aurangabad. The Aurangabad railway station is the nearest railway station from Ellora caves. There is a domestic airport in Aurangabad which is well connected with other Indian cities.

An archaeological site about 30 km away from Aurangabad, the Ellora Caves are listed as a World Heritage Site. It belongs in the state of Maharashtra and is believed to have been carved out and constructed in the beginning by the Rashtrakuta dynasty. A total of 34 caves, these constructs basically fall under three groups – the Buddhist group, the Hindu group and the Jain group. The Buddhist group consists of the first twelve caves, the Hindu group takes up the next seventeen, while the Jain group has five caves.

All the excavations are in close proximity, reflecting the harmony these very religions prevailed with during those times. Ellora - The World Of Caves - Tourist Places In Ellora The first set of caves belongs to the Buddhist sect. The Buddhists were the first ones to excavate the Ellora Caves, from around 450 to 700 AD. They carved out 12 caves which were further divided into two groups – Caves 1-5 and Caves 6-12.

The Brahmanical Caves are also popularly called the Hindu caves and their set starts from Cave 13 to Cave 29. There are 17 caves in all and are situated towards the western region. All these caves were built during different periods. The last set of caves found in Ellora belong to the Jainism sect. They were the last ones to sculpt Jain representations here. The excavation found here is majorly unfinished; they are finely detailed, though nowhere close to the dexterity employed in the Buddhist and Hindu caves at Ellora.

There are a total of five caves under this group – from Cave 30-34. Another key feature of the all the caves together is a water cistern that is present in each and every cave. Since these caves were inhabited by the monks and disciples in that era, the provision of water came in very handy. They had a keen sense of rainwater harvesting, which they employed to redirect rainwater into the cisterns with the help of strategic cuts in the huge rocks found in the caves. Ellora Weather The caves can be visited anytime during the entire year. The climate is majorly cool and pleasant. However, the summer can become a little overbearing and the heat can make it difficult to explore the place properly since there is quite a bit of walking to do. The rainy season also poses as a good time as the weather makes the river below swell in full bloom and the surrounding temperatures drop from the scorching heat to a much more bearable one.

How to Reach

By Road Just like the airway and the rails, even in the case of roadways, Aurangabad comes closest to Ellora as a major junction. Inter-state and inter-city buses ply regularly from all regions within and outside Maharashtra to Aurangabad. The distance from Ellora to Aurangabad by road is a further 30 km that can be covered by an auto ride. The fare will come to an average Rs. 400. By Train As for the railway line, the Aurangabad railway station is the closest station to the Ellora Caves. It takes 45 minutes to reach Ellora from the station. The Aurangabad railway station is further linked to all major cities within Maharashtra, and outside it, by regular trains. By Air The closest airport to Ellora is the Aurangabad Airport, which is about 20 km away from the caves. The Aurangabad Airport is further well connected to all major cities in India including Mumbai, Udaipur and Delhi.

Ellora Caves, Aurangabad Timings: 8:00 A.M to 5:30 P.M.

Ellora Caves, Aurangabad Entry Fees: INR 40 for Indian nationals and INR 600 for foreign nationals

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