Ellora Caves, an archeological site situated 19 miles from the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. It is listed as one of the world heritage site by UNSECO. It is the finest example of rock cave temple in India with 34 caves in total. It is believed that these caves were built by the rulers of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. They are carved into the sides of a basaltic hill. These structures were carved between 350 AD and 700 AD, representing three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. There are 12 caves in the southern part of the site which belong to Buddhism, 17 caves in the center which belong to Hinduism and 5 caves in the north which belong to Jainism.
Buddhist caves: The caves 1 to 12 are made for Buddhism, built during 550-750 AD. These caves are decorated with striking sculptures and murals of Lord Buddha. The cave number 12 is a significant cave known for its three stories structure.
Hindu caves: The caves 13 to 29 are made for Hinduism, built during 600-875 AD. These caves are completely filled with sculpture of “Apsaras” (beautiful woman), gods and goddesses. Cave number 16 should not be missed as it has a Kailash temple which is known to be the largest monolith structure of the world.
Jain caves: After passing through the Hindu caves, there comes the Jain caves (from 30-34) built between 800 AD and 1000 AD. These caves even comprise of various images of lord and mythological paintings.
An impressive thing to observe is the 15 feet statue of Buddha seated in two story structure of stupa with all the grace. It took about five centuries to complete the structure made with 200,000 tones of rock which is a splendid achievement by human. In the year 1819, John Smith, a British officer discovered these caves while he was on a hunting expedition.
The nearest airport to reach Ellora Caves is Chikalthana airport, which is 127 km away. The city of Aurangabad is also well provided by number of buses and train ways as well. These caves are open from morning 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the evening, from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Ellora Caves boasts an unimaginable and detailed work of art with ancient temples and monasteries which will definitely win our hearts especially for those who are very interested in ancient history.