Ellora Caves – India’s Classical Masterpiece

Ellora caves

These 34 monasteries and temples, spread over 2 km, were dug into a high basalt rock wall, not far from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Ellora caves, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments from 600 AD to 1000 AD, brings alive the civilization of ancient India. The Ellora campus is not only a unique artistic creation and a technological exploit, but with its sanctuaries dedicated to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it reflects the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

Brief synthesis | Ellora Caves

The invaluable attire of 34 caves at Ellora in the Charannandari hills of Maharashtra state of western India demonstrates a sense of coexistence and religious tolerance through outstanding architectural activities undertaken by followers of three major religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism. . Rock-cut activity was carried out in three phases from the 8th century to the 12th century. The oldest caves (caves 1–12) excavated between the 5th and 8th centuries, reflect the Mahayana philosophy of Buddhism practiced in the region. The Brahmanical group of caves (Caves 13–24), including the famous Kailasa temple (Cave 16), were excavated between the 8th and 10th centuries. The last phase, between the 6th and 12th centuries, saw the excavation of a group of caves (caves 30–37) depicting Jain philosophy.

Among the Buddhist group of caves, Cave 10 (Vishwakarma or Sutar-ki-Jhopri, Carpenter’s Cave), Cave 11, and Cave 12 (three talas, or three-storeyed monasteries, the largest in this category) are particularly important. These caves mark the development of the Vajrayana form of Buddhism and represent a host of Buddhist deities. The major caves of the Brahminical group are Cave 15 (Dashavatara, or Cave of the Ten Avatars), Cave 14 (Kailasa, the largest monolithic temple), Cave 21 (Rameshwar), and Cave 29 (Taking the Doomer).

Of these, Cave 14 is a classic example of structural innovation, and symbolizes the culmination of rock-cut architecture in India with elaborate workmanship and striking proportions. The temple is decorated with some of the boldest and finest sculptural creations found in India. The statue depicting Ravana while attempting to lift Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva, is particularly notable. On the roof of the mandapa (pillared hall) in front of this temple remains of beautiful paintings of various periods are preserved.

The group of Jain caves (Caves 30–37) are exquisitely carved with fine, delicate sculptures, and include fine paintings dedicated to the Digambara sect. Through its art and architecture, Ellora caves serve as a window to ancient India, including socio-cultural events, material culture, politics, and lifestyles.

Criterion (i): The wearing of Ellora is a unique artistic achievement, a masterpiece of human creative genius. If one considers only the work of excavating the rock, then a monument like the Kailas temple is a technical exploitation without equal. However, this temple, which transports models from “built” architecture, offers a very high plastic quality and an extraordinary repository of sculpture and painted forms of an encyclopedic program.

Criterion (ii): Ellora rejuvenates the civilization of ancient India with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments from 600 to 1000 AD.

Criterion (iii): Ellora’s caves not only bear witness to the three great religions, namely Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism, they reflect the spirit of tolerance, characteristic of ancient India, which made these three religions their sanctuaries and their communities. Allowed to install. A single space, which thus served to reinforce its universal value.


The Ellora caves contain all the elements necessary to express its outstanding universal value, including architectural and sculptural elements, which bear witness to Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Jainism in a seamless sequence of monuments from 600 to 1000 AD. The property, which encompasses the ensemble, with its natural setting, is of sufficient size to ensure a complete representation of facilities and processes that express the importance of the property, and is not prone to adverse effects of development and / or neglect. Identification of potential hazards to the integrity of the property includes visitor and environmental management, leakage and cracks in caves, and the ability of conservation staff on the property.


The authenticity of Ellora caves is expressed through architectural forms and designs such as viharas (monasteries), chaityagrihas (sanctuaries), and monolithic temples belonging to three different religions. The material, location and natural setting also play an important role in determining the authenticity of the property. Ellora caves are authentic in terms of forms and designs, materials and materials, and installation of places and paintings, rock-cut architecture, sculptures and unfinished temples of three different religions, i.e. Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism.

Protection and management requirements

Ellora caves are managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), while the buffer zone is jointly managed by ASI, Forest Department and Government of Maharashtra. Various laws, including the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958) and its rules (1959), the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Verification) Act (2010), the Forest Act (1927), the Forest Protection Act (1980) , Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayat and Industrial Townships Act, Maharashtra (1965), and the Regional and Town Planning Act, Maharashtra (1966), regulate the overall administration of the property and its buffer zone. A detailed status survey of all the caves has been carried out as part of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan and implementation is underway.

In order to maintain the excellent universal value of the property over time a framework will need to be developed and implemented to address issues such as visitor management as well as environmental management; Long-term monitoring for leakage and cracking patterns in all caves; And with the objective of ensuring the capacity building of the conservation staff on the property, the long-term protection of the properties maintaining the outstanding universal value, integrity and authenticity of the property.

Getting there

Ellora caves can be reached by rail, road or air. The nearest airport to Ellora Caves is located at a distance of 30 km in Aurangabad, which has good connectivity to the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Aurangabad railway station is the nearest to the caves. Bus and car services are available to and fro from the railway station and caves. There are many private tour operators from whom private cars can be rented. He drives 1-2 hours from Ellora to Aurangabad.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Ellora Caves

Q. Who built the Ellora caves?

A – It was built by the Rashtrakuta king, Krishna I. Located south of the range, these caves are estimated to have been constructed during 600 to 730 CE.

Q. Why Ellora caves are famous?

A – Ellora is also world famous for the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cave 16). Ellora is famous for Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples built during the reign (8th and 8th centuries) of Kalachuri, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta dynasties.

Q. Who destroyed Ellora caves?

A – In 1682, Aurangzeb, a Muslim ruler, hired 1000 workers for only three years to completely destroy this temple.

Q. How many caves are there in Ellora caves?

A – The invaluable attire of 34 caves at Ellora in the Charananandri hills of Maharashtra state of western India demonstrate the spirit of co-existence and religious tolerance through outstanding architectural activities undertaken by followers of three major religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism. Does.

Q. Which is better Ellora or Ajanta?

A – All the caves of Ajanta are located on the same hill in the shape of a horseshoe. The caves are closer than Ellora. Ajanta is completely dedicated to Buddhism and, unlike Ellora, is known for paintings rather than sculptures. Cave 1 is one of the best bunches there.

Q. Which is the most famous cave of Ellora?

A – All the monuments of Ellora were built during the Rashtrakuta dynasty, which formed part of the Hindu and Buddhist caves, and the Yadav dynasty, which built many Jain caves.

Q. What day did Ellora caves close?

A – Arrival time: Ellora caves are open throughout the year even on national holidays. In the week, they are closed on Tuesdays. On other days, they are open between 0600 – 1800 hrs.

Q. Are Ajanta and Ellora the same?

A – Ajanta is 100 kilometers (62 mi) from Ellora Caves, which contains Hindu, Jain and Buddhist caves, the last dating of the same period as Ajanta. The Ajanta style is also found in Ellora caves and other sites such as Elephanta caves, Aurangabad caves, Shivleni caves and cave temples in Karnataka.

Q. Who takes care of Ellora caves?

A – Government of India, Archaeological survey of India, UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)

Q. How old are the Ellora caves?

A – Ellora Caves, North-West-Central Maharashtra State, India. 12 Buddhist caves (in the south) from around 200 BCE to 600 CE, 17 Hindu temples (in the center) from about 500 to 900 CE, and 5 Jain temples (in the north) around 800 to 1000.

Q. Which rulers built the temples of Ellora?

A – Kailas Temple (Cave 16) is one of 34 cave temples and monasteries collectively known as Ellora Caves. Its construction is generally attributed to the eighth century Rashtrakuta king Krishna I.

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