ELLORA (MAHARASHTRA)

Ellora caves are situated about 48 kms away from Aurangabad and extend along the face of the hill for nearly a mile and a quarter.They are divided into three distinct parts - Buddhistb Brahmanica and Jain- which are almost arranged in a chronological order. There are in all 34 chaityas and viharas from between 4th and 9th centuries. The most splendid place is the Kailash, which is a Dravidian temple and the rock here is cut both internally and externally. There are colossal elephants lining either side of the mandapam. The temple of Lord Shiva was built between 760-783 AD. Although much of the carving inside was damaged by the Muslim invaders at the end of the 13th century, the temple is both a masterpiece of the engravers' art and a storehouse of Hindu mythology.

Two great dynasties were the patrons of Ellora: the Chalukyas of the Deccan and the Rashtrakutas, who built the shrine of Elephanta also. Ellora caves are remarkable for their splendid sculpture. The Ellora caves start roughly where Ajanta caves finish.

Among the caves, Cave No.-5 is the biggest Vihara cave. It is presumed that it might have been the assembly hall or the dining hall.

The Hindu caves are the most dramatic and impressive of the Ellora cave temples. The sheer size of the Kailash Temple is overwhelming. The Kailasha Temple represents Lord Shiva's Himalayan home and is exquisitely sculpted with scenes from Hindu mythology. Having seen this sculpted monument, the archaeologists have concluded that the temple was cut out of solid rock from top to down and in this process at least 2,00,000 tons of rock was removed.



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