Ellora Things to Do

  • Entrance of Cave 29
    Entrance of Cave 29
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  • Magnificient Sculptures in cave 29
    Magnificient Sculptures in cave 29
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  • All about cave 29
    All about cave 29
    by y2ketan2007

Most Recent Things to Do in Ellora

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    Kailash Temple

    by y2ketan2007 Written Oct 19, 2013

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    Kailashnath Temple at Ellora
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    This absolute wonder at Ellora is also the cave No 16 and is the mountain abode of Lord Shiva and Parvathi.Kailash temple is a monolith created top down from solid mountain rock.It took about 200 years to build.The entire temple layout is chiselled out of solid rock and one has to really visit this place to be awestruck by the sheer genius of the craftsmen who built it 1200 years ago .

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    Cave 32-Indra Sabha-First Floor-III

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012

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    The upper storey of this temple has 12 very richly-carved pillars which are a treat to watch. It consists of a huge hall with plenty of Thirthankara (a person who has achieved enlightenment) images. There is a shrine here also with the statue of Lord Mahavira in a seated position.

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    Cave 32-Indra Sabha-Ground Floor-II

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012
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    In a small cave on the ground floor is a statue of Lord Mahavira with two fly whisk-bearers, one on each side. In the verandah are two finely-chiselled statues, one is of Siddhayika, the Jain Goddesses of wealth and prosperity, seated on a lion while the other is of Matanga, the Jain God of Generosity, seated on an elephant. Remnants of a fresco can still be seen on the ceiling.

    First Written: Apr. 11, 2012

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    Cave 32-Indra Sabha-Courtyard-I

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012

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    This cave, also known as the Indra Sabha, is the most important shrine belonging to the Jain religion in Ellora. From a distance itself, the structure looks imposing owing to its two-storied façade. A huge recently-restored pillar greets you the moment you step into the courtyard. Not only is this pillar intricately carved but there are four figures on the top of the pillar facing the four important directions of North, South, East and West. On the other side, is another huge statue, this time of an elephant.

    First Written: Apr. 11, 2012

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    Kailashnath-Overview - I

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    Though all the caves at Ellora are architectural marvels, the Kailasha Temple or Kailashnath is the apotheosis, the culmination of their artistic wizardry. The multi-level temple with its pyramidal form seeks to replicate Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. It is the largest monolithic structure in the world and is excavated in the top-down fashion of the other caves from a single rock. Also, it has the largest cantilevered rock ceiling in the world. Occupying a space twice as large as that of the Pantheon in Athens, Greece, it is 98 ft. in height, 109 ft. in width and 164 ft. deep from the entrance to the back of the cave. It is surmised that 2,00,000 lakhs (200,000 million) tonnes of rock needed to be removed by about 7,000 labourers and must have taken upwards of 150 years to excavate the entire structure.

    Strictly speaking, the temple was not built with stone and mortar. Rather, it has been sculpted from a single hill. First, three trenches were dug out (the front was left open) and the middle monolithic rock freed. Thereafter, craftsmen went to work with determination, zeal and artistry to create an independent double storied paean to Lord Shiva. The entire plan consists of a wide entrance, an open courtyard, the three trenches right round the temple complex, the staircase leading to the sanctum sanctorum and the main shrine. All along, inside and outside, various sculptures and friezes, each rivalling the other, may be seen.

    From a distance itself, the temple looks impressive, hugging the mighty rocks, as it were, the rooftop resembling Mount Kailash. The vast expanse of the green lawn adds majesty to the structure. The entrance is impressive with its two-storied appearance and the welcoming sculptures of Lakshmi and the two doorkeepers.

    The overall impression is one of wonderment and of awe. What skill, what dedication, what faith, what single-minded devotion – and that too for over 10 generations. Though hewn out of solid rock, there is nothing impassive about the structure; rather, the final effect is one boundless energy and irrepressible force. Truly, this temple is not just a celebration to Lord Shiva but also a celebration to the human spirit imbued with religious frenzy, calm detachment and smiling tolerance – a fit abode for Lord Shiva (the destroyer).

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Kailashnath-The Rooftop-V

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    The rooftop of this temple is equally spectacular. You come out of the structure, turn left and take a narrow trail that leads you up a steep path to the top. Keep well away from the edge of the trench and climb to the very top. The scene from up there is panoramic. You can see the three trenches dug deep till the very bottom, the Kailash mount on the top of the temple, the four lions facing the four directions and the entire temple stretched out like a chariot about to take off to the heavens.

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Kailashnath-Paintings - IV

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012

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    Most of the paintings have faded away but the ones that remain, or rather, fragments of the ones that remain, testify to the skill of the painters. The one of the heads of elephants is singularly beautiful as are a few remnants on other subjects. Though the colours used are rather basic – red, yellow, soot-black, blue – the overall effect is mesmerising. Even the method used is very basic – the rock surface was deliberately left rough, mud plaster was applied, and then a few layers of lime plaster to even out the surface. This was the base on which intricate patterns were painted.

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Kailashnath-The Shrine-III

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012

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    There are two flights of steps, one on either side, that lead up to the main shrine. Here, the Shivlinga is in one place, the Nandi bull is in a room across the air-bridge. Various sculptures adorn the walls while faded paintings, still looking striking, may be discerned in the ceiling. Outside the main shrine are more sculptures, some amorous some divine.

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Kailashnath-Circumambulation - II

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Apr 10, 2012

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    Inside the courtyard, the two sides reveal the trenches that were dug out to free the central mass of stone. To your left is a huge sculpture of an elephant and a little beyond a huge pillar. As you walk along, the recessed portion affords places to rest while the overhanging rocks provide you shelter from the hot rays of the sun. When you turn the corner, you see the third trench that had to be dug out to completely free the central mass of the volcanic rock. You walk along the third side of the monolithic structure and come across intricate sculptures as well as carvings of stories from the Ramayana and from the Mahabharata. One more elephant and one more pillar on the right side of the structure complement the ones on the left.

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Cave 10-Vishwarkarma

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Apr 10, 2012
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    The cave is called Vishwakarma and has the only stupa (burial mound wherein some important relic of Buddha lies) in Ellora. It is a double-storied structure with a wide verandah on the first floor. Two shrines welcome you in the courtyard itself.

    There is an imposing statue of the Buddha, seated with feet resting on a lotus and with two Bodhisattvas (beings in the process of attaining Buddha-hood) on either side. Celestial figures are carved in the arch behind the statue. A stupa, larger than the statue, is placed directly behind. The high roof has rib-like rafters looking almost like wooden beams and closely resembling the ones available at the Ajanta caves. Below these are carved images of the Buddha and of the dwarf attendants of Lord Shiva.

    First Written: Apr. 10, 2012

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    Anjanta Caves

    by smirnofforiginal Written Apr 26, 2010

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    The Anjanta Caves, also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, are older than their twin (Ellora Caves), dating from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD. The fall of the caves of Ajanta are actually due to Ellora and were actually forgotten about until a British hunter literally stumbled across them in 1819. The jungle had reclaimed them but the beautiful paintings had been fantastically preserved. The caves are stunningly set in a horseshoe around a gorge which, after the monsoon has waterfalls to boot - would imagine that is an awesome time to view here.

    Arriving in Ajanta you must take an "eco bus" to the site of the caves. Now, I am taking a wild leap here and assuming that these chugging, old buses are called "eco" because in using them they are limiting the flow of traffic... The buses are relatively regular but be advised, when they are due to leave people emerged out of the blue to take them! You pay the conductor on the bus and the fare is one way. It is not much but it is helpful to have some smaller change for it.

    There are many steps to climb at Anjanta which are tiresome in the blanket of heat. You can, should you so wish, hire a chair with 4 carriers and pretend you are modern day Maharaja. One of my children was very ill so I actually did pay for one for him. It was either that or giving him a piggy back which I certainly did not fancy! I regretted it in as much as the chair carriers are in a hurry to get around the site so that they can get their next ride. I gave them what I think was a good tip but they started shouting at me demanding I give them that each (on top of the payment for the chair) - it niggled me!

    NB flash photography is not allowed.
    At the time of my visit (April 2010) all caves were open to the public but the rumour is that they are going to be closing some off to preserve the artworks.

    The paintings are quite remarkable BUT my advice if you intend to visit both the Ellora and the Ajanta caves is to visit Ajanta first as Ellora really are superior!

    We visited Anjantaon a day trip from Ellora. We hired a car with driver (via our hotel) which was not as cheap as cars and drivers elsewhere. The benefit was our driver had a fountain of knowledge and views oon just about everything and was happy to show us other things of interest, stop to sample local drinks etc... and I am sure was more comfortable in the heat than the local bus. I met somebody who took the bus (3hrs) and said it was do-able but very hot.

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    Ellora Caves

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Apr 26, 2010

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    A VERY MUCH DESERVED UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.
    For 5000 years those Buddhist, Hindu & Jain monks went at it with their hammers and chisels and what they left us is a truly incredible, magnifcent and remarkable set of 34 caves - 12 Buddhist caves which date AD600-800, 17 Hindu caves AD600-900 and 5 Jain caves AD800-1000. The piece de las resistance being Cave 16 - Kalasa Temple. It is the worlds largest monolithic sculpture. It took 7000 determined rock chisellers the duration of 150 years and it will make you say WOW!

    At the entrance to the caves you can find vendors with guide books. I had my own basic one but was so overwhelmed by the wonderousness of this site that it never even made it out the bag! There are autorickshaw drivers who will tell you which order to do the caves and that you need to use their service. Listen to them - the first set of caves are too far to walk, especially under the hot, Indian sun!

    We spent a leaisurely day ambling around the extensive site.

    Our rickshaw driver took us on a hike up to the Ganeesha Temple. The climb up may have lasted 5 minutes of 5 years - it was so ridiculously hot we found it tough going. Honestly, it is not spectacular BUT we were the ONLY people that bothered or knew to go up there and the walk back down was nice.

    Whatever you do, do Cave 16 LAST!

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    Cave 4 (Buddhist)

    by MM212 Updated Mar 14, 2010
    Main shrine in Cave 4
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    Much like number 3, Cave 4 seems to have never been finished. Its entrance consists of a deep porch with carved square pillars. The interior contains the usual hypostyle hall with richly sculpted columns and a shrine against the back wall. The main shrine shows a seated Buddha. Cave 4 was also carved as a vihara, a Buddhist monastery.

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    Kailasa Temple

    by MM212 Updated Mar 14, 2010

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    Kailasa Temple

    India's greatest rock-cut temple, the Kailasa Temple is the world's largest monolithic structure! It is a most astonishing sight and is the jewel of Ellora, if not the entire State of Maharashtra. The whole temple was carved out of a cliff from top to bottom, complete with the most elaborate decorations. It covers an area that is double the size of the Parthenon in Athens. Work on the Hindu temple began in the second half of the 8th century AD, under Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, and took 100 years to complete. The temple was designed to resemble Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, to whom the temple is dedicated. No other cave or temple at Ellora matches the splendour of the Kailasa Temple and it is reason enough to visit the site. The temple is described in more detail further down on this page. The Kailasa Temple is located in the centre of the Ellora Caves site, near the ticket office, so most visit it before continuing on to glance at other caves.

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    Caves 1 & 2 (Buddhist)

    by MM212 Updated Mar 13, 2010

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    Cave 2 on the left
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    The southernmost caves are numbered 1 and 2 and are part of the Buddhist caves. The first contains eight cells that are plain and unadorned, thus archaeologists believe it might have been used as housing for the sculptors, or simply as a granary and storage. It dates from the 6th century AD. Next to it is the more impressive Cave 2. Carved as a Buddhist monastery (vihara), Cave 2 has a decorated façade with a doorway guarded by a bodhisattva on either side. Its interior consists of a large central hall with 12 richly decorated pillars and walls sculpted with seated buddha statues. At the back of the cave is a doorway that leads into the main shrine with a seated Buddha statue.

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