The cave temples of Ellora – a photo feature
The cave temples of Ellora are 28 kms from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, and in the opposite direction from the Ajanta caves. So this means that separate days need to be earmarked to see both Ajanta and Ellora. The temples of Ellora are different from that of Ajanta, and not just because fewer paintings have survived the onslaught of the ages (you get to see a lot of beautiful sculpture). These temples are markedly different because they do not represent just Buddhism (like the Ajanta caves) but also Hinduism and Jainism. There are beautiful carvings of the various gods and goddesses. Each style of architecture is distinctively different and time periods are different. The Buddhist caves are from 500-700 A.D and some of the Hindu temples were built as late as the 9th century A.D. The caves are spread out over a very large distances and to visit some of them you can take your own vehicle.
The photograph below is where a lot of the caves are on one hill-side…it’s taken from the centre and it’s a combination of two photographs. It was very bright and sunny and therefore the pictures did not come out as well as they should have.
The picture below was taken from exactly the same spot as the one above, but from the opposite direction.
The photographs I have selected are not in any particular sequence and nor have I labeled them with the different styles of architecture. I have simply selected the best photographs and published them here.
You have to climb a very steep hill to get to see this one but it’s well worth the climb!
The photograph below is that of the monastery, where the monks used to live. Inside it’s very simple, with stone slabs for beds.
The photograph below is of the most spectacular temple in the whole complex – the Kailash Temple which was built in the 8th-9th century A.D. It has various sculpted panels – that of Durga and Vishnu. The shrine itself has Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. The right wall of the temple has Shiva and other goddesses like Parvati. It’s amazing to see that this temple was carved out of sheer rock and that too by hand.
This is a panoramic view of the inside of the temple complex and the photograph has been derived by stitching together two photos. It has only captured one side of the temple complex however.
In the photos below you can see more details and can see that these temples were originally painted. But time has taken it’s toll.
There are some caves (Jain) which are at a distance from the others and the two pictures below were taken there.
Related Seeing/Reading: Ajanta caves photo feature
Aurangabad caves, Bibi-ka-maqbara and the Daulatabad Fort – photo feature
Aurangabad in pictures
Other travel articles with photos
A photo tour of Mammallapuram