October 18, 2017

The World Heritage site – Ellora

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The World Heritage site of Ellora has around 34 caves, of which 5 are Jaina caves. Though few in number compared to the Buddhist and the

Hindu caves, the Jaina caves have exquisite sculpture and some fine representation of Jaina Tirtankaras Parshvanath, Mahavira and also Gomateshvara and Yaksha Matanga and Yakshi Siddhayika.

The caves numbered 30 to 34 are all Digambara caves excavated during the reign of Rashtrakuta King Amoghavarsha (819-81 CE).  These caves are situated in the northern part of the cave complex, and one can take the state transport buses that operate from the entry point opposite the Kailas cave.

Cave 30 is called Chota Kailas as it resembles the Kailas, cave 16  with its Dravidian style. A small pathway leads one up from the side of Cave no 32 to 30, and on the way one can see the unfinished cave 31.

_DSC7301Cave 32, and cave 33 are the most ornate ones, with an upper floor, intricate pillars, and both connected through a small pathway. Cave no 32 still shows some of the old paintings that have survived from a cave that was once considered fully painted. These two caves are known as Indra Sabha and Jagannath Sabha.

Ellora complex needs at least two days to cover in some detail. The caves are easily accessible from Aurangabad city, and there is even a decent option to stay just outside the cave complex. ASI guide book is a good one to carry around while exploring the caves, even if one has a physical guide to show around. Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays.

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