The famous Ellora caves are located in
the lap of the Chamadari hills. These historical caves are regarded as
world heritage and are situated 18 miles northwest of Aurangabad. The
Ellora Caves are as old as 300 years. At first sight, the Ellora
appears to the visitors as an asymmetrical ridge of rock, emerging
vertically from the ground.
A wonderful example of cave temple architecture, the world heritage
Ellora caves own elaborate facades and intricately carved interiors.
These carved structures on the inner walls of the caves reflect the
three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. These exotic caves
were carved during 350 AD to 700 AD period.
The Chalukya - Rashtrakuta rulers (7th - 10th cnetury) were the main
patrons of the cave temples of Ellora. Many kings and Merchants
donated huge sums of money for the construction of these cave temples.
Some religious beliefs and ethical codes forced the rulers to
encourage the buliding of these temples. Building of these temples was
supposed to give salvation and religious excellance to the kings.
The enchanting cave shrines of Ellora are an added value to the great
¤ Caves and Temples
At Ellora, there are in total 34 famous temples carved out of stone.
The cave temples of Ellora can be divided into three groups, mostly
belonging to three periods: Buddhist, Hindu and Jain. Out of 34 cave
temples only 12 of the temples belong to the Buddhist period. Infact
even these temples also include the Hindu and Jain theme. This
represents the slow decline of Buddhism.
Ellora cave temples were completed after five centuries and were
carved by the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monks. These historical
monasteries, temples, and chapels reflect the outstanding imagination
and detail work of art . These caves are spread from the North to
South and look absolutely stunning in the late afternoon when the
golden sunrays fall on them.
¤ Highlights of Ellora Caves
The exquisite carvings and paintings found in Ellora are its major
highlights. These carvings have marks of Hindu, Jain and Buddhsim
expressions. The wooden beams, graceful angles, steps and the mystical
figures of gods and goddesses are absolutely spellbinding. They
exhibit the creative excellence of the artist of that time.
The famous wall paintings in Ellora are found in 5 caves, but these
paintings are preserved only in Kailasa temple. These paintings were
painted in two series, first, at the time of carving the caves and
second, after many centuries later. The paintings of the first series
show Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. In the later series the main
composition is that of a procession of Shaiva holy men. The paintings
also show gracefully flying 'Apsaras'. Sadly, very few such murals in
the Jain temples are well preserved.
The MTDC organizes the famous Ellora Festival of classical dance and
music at these caves every year in the third week of March.
¤ Reach Ellora Caves
By Air : The nearest airport
from these caves is situated in Aurangabad (15 kms). It is a domestic
By Rail : Aurangabad is the nearest railway station on South
Central Railway Line. Mumbai - Aurangabad via Manmad is 388-km and via
Pune it is 400-km.
By Road : Aurangabad is a major city of Maharashtra, therefore
it is well connected by road. To reach Ellora Caves tourists should
take a taxi from Aurangabad. State buses run from Mumbai, Pune,
Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Shirdi, Nasik, Dhule, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad,
Indore and Bijapur to Aurangabad.