The Ellora Caves

Related Articles

Related Articles

The Ellora Caves is a large rock-cut monastery temple complex located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India.

The complex has over 100 caves, features a multi-faith collection of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculptures and monuments that date from AD 600 to 1000. These consist of 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves as well as monasteries dedicated to each religion.

The earliest caves may have been built during the dynasties of the Traikutakas (a dynasty of Indian kings who ruled between AD 388 and 456) and the Vakataka (a dynasty from the Indian subcontinent that originated from the Deccan between AD 250 – 270), the latter being known for sponsoring the Ajanta caves.

 

Image Credit : N M Kowlagi

The Buddhist caves were built during the Chalukya dynasty (a Classical Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between AD 500-1100), the Hindu caves by the Rashtrakuta dynasty (a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian subcontinent between AD 500-900) and the Jaina caves by the Yadava dynasty (a kingdom stretching from the Narmada river in the north to the Tungabhadra river in the south, in the western part of the Deccan region).

The complex served as a monastic site for worship and a rest stop for pilgrims, but also functioned as an important commercial centre due to its proximity to the South Asian trade routes.

Image Credit : Udaykumar PR

Ellora occupies a flat rocky region of the Western Ghats, also known as Sahyadri (Benevolent Mountains), where the geology of the landscape was shaped by volcanic activity creating a multi-layered basalt formation known as the Deccan Traps that formed during the Cretaceous period. The resulting vertical face made access to many layers of rock formations easier, enabling architects to pick basalt with finer grains for more detailed sculpting.

One of the most notable monuments at Ellora is The Kailāśa temple: Cave 16, carved entirely out of a single rock face that covers an area twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens.

Image Credit : Rajesh Kapoor

The Kailāśa temple has been attributed to the Rashtrakuta King Krishna I (AD 756–773) and was inspired by Mount Kailāśa, modelled in design to Hindu temples with a gateway, an assembly hall, a garbha-grihya (sanctum sanctorum) wherein resides the linga-yoni and a main temple surrounded by many shrines and sculptures.

Header Image Credit : Y.Shishido

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Photos of Stolen Mosaic Reveals Oldest Representation of Roman Hydraulic Wheel

Researchers from the University of Warsaw have determined that a mosaic stolen from Apamea in present-day Syria is the oldest representation of a Roman hydraulic water wheel.

Study Reveals True Origin of Oldest Evidence of Animals

Two teams of scientists have resolved a longstanding controversy surrounding the origins of complex life on Earth.

The Microbiome of Da Vinci’s Drawings

The work of Leonardo Da Vinci is an invaluable heritage of the 15th century. From engineering to anatomy, the master paved the way for many scientific disciplines.

The Private Estates of the Royal Family

The private estates of the Royal Family are the privately owned assets, not to be confused with the Crown Estates which belong to the British monarch as a corporation sole or "the sovereign's public estate".

Field Geology at Mars’ Equator Points to Ancient Megaflood

Floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars' equator around 4 billion years ago - a finding that hints at the possibility that life may have existed there, according to data collected by NASA's Curiosity rover and analyzed in joint project by scientists from Jackson State University, Cornell University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hawaii.

Middle Stone Age Populations Repeatedly Occupied West African Coast

Although coastlines have widely been proposed as potential corridors of past migration, the occupation of Africa's tropical coasts during the Stone Age is poorly known, particularly in contrast to the temperate coasts of northern and southern Africa.

Naqa – The Meroitic City

Naqa, also called Naga'a, and presently referred to as the El-Moswarat Andel-Naqa'a Archaeological Area was one of the ancient cities of the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, located on the east-bank of the River Nile in Western Butan (historically called the Island of Meroë) in Sudan.

Prehistoric Shark Hid its Largest Teeth

Some, if not all, early sharks that lived 300 to 400 million years ago not only dropped their lower jaws downward but rotated them outwards when opening their mouths.

Popular stories

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.