. The Ellora caves, locally known as Verul Leni is located on the Aurangabad Chalisgaon road at a distance of 30 km north northwest of Aurangabad, the district headquarters. The name Ellora itself inspires everyone as it represents one of the largest rock hewn monastic temple complexes in the entire world. Ellora is also world famous for the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cave 16). The visit to these caves is
The Buddhist caves
. These caves were built during the 5th 7th century. It was initially thought that the Buddhist caves were one of the earliest structures, created between the fifth and eighth centuries, with caves 1 5 in the first phase (400 600) and 6 12 in the later phase (mid 7th mid 8th), but now it is clear to the modern scholars that some of the Hindu caves (27,29,21,28,19,26,20,17 and 14) precede these caves. The earliest Buddhist cave is C
. The Vishwakarma (Cave 10) is the only chaitya griha amongst the Buddhist group of caves. It is locally known as Vishwakarma or Sutar ka jhopda carpenters hut. It follows the pattern of construction of Caves 19 and 26 of Ajanta. On stylistic grounds, the date of construction of this cave is assigned to 700 A.D. The chaitya once had a high screen wall, which is ruined at present. At the front is a rock cut court, which is entered through a flight o
The Hindu caves
. The Hindu caves were constructed between the middle of sixth century to the end of the eighth century. The early caves (caves 1729) were constructed during the Kalachuri period. The work first commenced in Caves 28, 27 and 19. These were followed by two most impressive caves constructed in the early phase Caves 29 and 21. Along with these two, work was underway at Caves 20 and 26, and slightly later at Caves 17, 19 and 28. The caves 14, 15 and
The Kailasanatha temple
. Cave 16, also known as the Kailasa temple, is the unrivaled centerpiece of Ellora. This is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva looks like a freestanding, multi storeyed temple complex, but it was carved out of one single rock, and covers an area double the size of Parthenon in Athens. Initially the temple was covered with white plaster thus even more increasing the similarity to snow covered Mount Kailash.All the carvings a
. The Dashavatara (Cave 15) was begun as a Buddhist monastery. It has an open court with a free standing monolithic mandapa at the middle and a two storeyed excavated temple at the rear. The layout of the temple is closely related to caves 11 and 12. Large sculptural panels between the wall columns on the upper floor illustrate a wide range of themes, which include the ten avatars of Vishnu. An inscription of grant of Dantidurga is found on the bac
Other Hindu caves
. Other notable Hindu caves are the Rameshvara (Cave 21), which has figurines of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance and the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29) whose design is similar to the cave temple on Elephanta Island near Mumbai. Two other caves, the Ravan ki Khai (Cave 14) and the Nilkantha (Cave 22) also have several sculptures. The rest of the Hindu caves, which include the Kumbharvada (Cave 25) and the Gopilena (Cave 27) have no significa
The Jain caves
. The five Jain caves at Ellora belong to the ninth and tenth centuries. They all belong to the Digambara sect. Jain caves reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy and tradition. They reflect a strict sense of asceticism they are not relatively large as compared to others, but they present exceptionally detailed art works. The most remarkable Jain shrines are the Chhota Kailash (cave 30), the Indra Sabha (cave 32) and the Jagannath Sabha (cav
The Indra Sabha
. The Indra Sabha (Cave 32) is a two storeyed cave with one more monolithic shrine in its court. It has a very fine carving of the lotus flower on the ceiling. It got the appellation Indra Sabha probably it is significantly ornate and also because of the sculpture of the yaksha (dedicated attendant deity) Matanga on an elephant, which was wrongly identified as that of Indra. On the upper level of the double storied shrine excavated at the rear of t
Geology of Ellora
. Ellora occupies a relatively flat region of the Western Ghats. Ancient volcanic activity in this area created many layered basalt formations, known as Deccan Traps. During the Cretaceous, one such volcanic hill formed on the southwest facing side of Ellora. Its vertical face made access to many layers of rock formations easier, enabling architects to pick basalt with finer grains for more detailed sculpting.
Inscriptions at Ellora
. Several inscriptions at Ellora range from 6th century to 15th century. The best known of them is an inscription of Rashtrakuta Dantidurga (c. 753 57 A.D.) on the back wall of the front mandapa of Cave 15, which gives an account of his conquests. Inscriptions on the Kailash temple itself range from 9th to 15th century. Jain cave Jagannatha Sabha has 3 inscriptions that give the names of monks and donors. A Parshvanth temple on the hill has a 11th
How to Reach Ellora Caves
. By AirThe nearest airport (which is a domestic airport) from these caves is situated in Aurangabad (15 kms) and can be reached directly from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Udaipur.By RailAurangabad is the nearest railway station on South Central Railway Line, about 30 kms from Ellora.By RoadAurangabad is a major city of Maharashtra, therefore it is well connected by road. To reach Ellora Caves tourists should take a taxi from Aurangabad. There are Sta
Places In and Around Ellora
. Ghrishneshwar TempleAbout half a kilometer from Ellora is the Ghrishneshwar Temple, which was built in the 18th century. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India and a place that one must visit in order to make the pilgrimage to the Jyotirlingas complete. This beautiful temple has 24 exquisitely carved stone columns, which support the main hall. Shahji Raje Bhosle Memorial This is the site of the ancestral home of King Chatrapa
. The four day Ellora Ajanta Festival is usually held at Soneri Mahal (Golden Palace), an historic 17th century architectural marvel in Aurangabad near Ellora, in the last week of November each year. The festival features some of the most distinguished singers and dancers of India. Note The festival recommenced in January 2014 after a three year absence.
Where to Stay
. The Hotel Kailas is located right opposite the Ellora caves. Its a relaxing, tranquil place with stone walls and a scenic landscape. Rates are 900 rupees ($20) for a hostel room, 1500 rupees ($35) for a cottage, and 2000 rupees ($50) for a cottage facing the caves. The hotel has plenty of amenities for guests including a restaurant, internet access, a library and games. You can also go paragliding.Quality accommodations at Ajanta are limited so i
Best Time to Visit
. The best time to visit Ellora Caves is during the months of October to February (winter season) and from June to September (monsoon season), these are the best time to visit Ellora Caves, as the weather is really pleasant during these months.Although March, April and May are holiday season (most of the school & colleges are shut downs during these months) in India, but the temperature is really high during these months i.e. between 37
How to reach Ellora by Road
. There are public & private buses from Aurangabad to Ellora Caves. Alternative you can hire private car, there are plenty of tour operator you can choose from. The drive from Aurangabad to Ellora takes 1 2 hours.
How to Reach Ellora by Rail
. Aurangabad Railway station is nearest to Ellora Caves, there are a plenty of private car services you can hire or you can avail the bus service from railway station to the caves.
How to Reach Ellora by Flight
. The nearest airport is at Aurangabad, 30 kms away from Ellora Caves. Aurangabad has a good national airport, which is well connected to major cities like Mumbai, Delhi & Hyderabad.
. Ellora is an ancient village 30 km (18.6 miles) from the city of Aurangabad in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Famous for its monumental caves, Ellora is a World Heritage Site.Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock cut architecture. The 34 caves actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills comprised of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples and monasteries, were built between the 5th century and 10th cen
. The architectural splendor is what attracts tourists to this place. Stretching around 2 km and with 34 numerous monasteries and temples, this whole complex is a work of art and brings alive the civilization of the times in ancient India. It is the worlds largest monolithic structure.There are in all 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain temples. Of these, the Hindu caves are the most attractive, due to the intricate design and layout of th
When to visit
. The Ellora Caves are best visited during the monsoons as you can see the water gushing from the mountain streams from the top of the caves. There is greenery everywhere, which makes the place very attractive.Other than the monsoons, you can visit the place from November to March. Summers are hot, which makes it unpleasant to spend the whole day outdoors. Therefore, winters and monsoons are preferred. If you dont prefer rains then skip the months
. The Ellora Caves are located around 26 km north of the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The caves are nestled amidst volcanic mountains. To be precise they happen to be positioned in the laps of the hills of Chamadari and in the thick forests. Mumbai is around 300 km from here, while Pune is around 250 km. It is near a small village called Verul.