These caverns, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, astound tourists with their awe-inspiring structure. The Kailasa Temple was erected utilizing the vertical excavation method, according to studies. The builders began at the top of the rock and worked their way down to create this magnificent temple complex.
The elliptical shape of the caves is due to the presence of water. Water has a profound effect on cave formations. It can cause the land to collapse over time or form calcite crystals that grow large enough to see from outside the cave. The water that flows through the Kailasa Cave forms a small lake at its center and has done so for thousands of years. Over time, the water dissolves the limestone below ground level and leaves behind a cavity. This process will continue until the weight of the cave roof collapses in on itself, causing an opening to form.
There are several theories about how the Ellora caves were used by people. Some believe they were ceremonial sites for worshiping the god Shiva, while others think they were living quarters for some kind of ancient society. However, there is no evidence to support these ideas. What we do know is that between 800BC and 600AD, many monks from around India came to this part of India to meditate and find enlightenment. They constructed more than 30 temples in the area so they could keep their devotion to Shiva alive even while traveling.
Unlike the Buddhists, who carved within the rock to build cave temples, this group cut the rock inside and outwardly with great accuracy to construct a monolithic rock temple. The result is the spectacular Kailasa temple, one of the world's largest rock-cut temples. It stands on a flat surface high above the village of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh state, India.
Kailasa was built around 800 AD by the Hindu ruler Jayanta Bhatta. Its exact location is not known but it is believed to be near the town of Kushinagar, which is located about 80 kilometers east of the capital city of Delhi.
The king ordered the construction of a huge monastery for monks to live in and practice meditation. They would then be able to liberate their minds from all worldly concerns and reach enlightenment. The monastery also included a library, museums, and workshops where artisans could make objects for sale in the kingdom.
To complete the project, thousands of workers were hired to extract tons of stone from nearby hills and transport it to the site where it was used to build the monastery. The original height of the building was probably over 100 feet, but now only its base remains because most of the upper parts have been destroyed over time.
After the main structure was completed, more than 70 smaller shrines were added as annexes to the main temple.
The Kailash Temple is the sixteenth cave and one of 32 cave temples and monasteries that comprise the magnificent Ellora Caves. According to historical accounts, it was erected between 756 and 773 AD by the 8th century Rashtrakuta King Krishna I. The structure consists of three stories with a total height of about 50 feet (15 m). The temple has a large number of sculptures on its walls and pillars.
In addition to Krishna I, other rulers including Samanta Deva, Narasimha, Vishnuvardhana, and Harsha may have contributed to the construction of this temple. However, evidence suggests that it was probably completed by Buddhist artists from Central Asia who had been invited by the Rashtrakutas to decorate the caves with their art.
The Kailasha Temple is one of the most important examples of Hindu rock art in India. It also shows influence from Buddhism and Jainism.
Sources say that during British rule, the temple site was visited by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to India. He took back several pieces of sculpture as "souvenirs" from India. Today, these sculptures can be seen in the British Museum in London.
It is believed that more than 300 years ago, when the first Europeans came to India, they saw the statues at the Kailasa Temple and called it "Mount Shiva".
The Kailasanatha temple (Cave 16) is one of the Ellora Caves, a collection of 32 cave temples and monasteries. It is dedicated to Shiva, who is represented as the Nataraja (the cosmic dancer) with his head thrown back in ecstasy. The image inside the cave is thought to be a representation of the cosmos during creation.
The main entrance to the cave is located on the west side of the main monastery complex at Cave 16. Inside the cave, the first impression is of grandeur through its large size and detailed sculptures. The original structure of the cave has been preserved except for the upper part of the walls which have collapsed due to erosion by rain water. The images inside the cave are well-preserved and include that of the Nataraja figure described above as well as others such as a dancing female figure called the Dancer or Ardhanariswara (Shiva as half male half female). There are also many other deities including Bhairava, Chaturmunda, Dakshinamurthi, Ganesha, Ikshvaku, Kartikeya, Murugan, Parvati, Vishnu, and Yellamma.
The cave is believed to have been built by the Pallavas between 544 and 718 AD.
These caverns are also said to be the work of priests and Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu monks who frequented the area. Architectural Importance: The rock-cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora are architectural marvels that have been designated as World Heritage Sites. They show a high degree of creativity in their design and execution with some of the most intricate and beautiful monoliths in India.
The caves are located in Maharashtra state, near the town of Aurangabad. They date back from about 300-500 A.D. to about 700-800 A.D. The site covers an area of about 15 km² (6 sq mi), and contains hundreds of carved caves spread over several hills. The rocks used for carving the caves are from nearby quarries. There are seven sites at Ajanta and eight sites at Ellora where excavations have revealed ancient paintings, sculptures, and graveyards belonging to various religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
People began visiting these sites in the 19th century, when they were discovered by Europeans walking through the woods looking for stones to build houses. The caves were saved from destruction by being included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
Nowadays, tourists come to see the beautiful paintings in the caves, many of which are scenes from daily life in the time before Christ.
Over five centuries, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain monks laboriously sculpted it out. The caverns are notable for their sculptures, which are strewn over all 34 (12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and 5 Jain) cave temples. The best-known sculpture in India is that of the dancing Shiva found in the main hall of the largest cave temple, called the Ellora Temple.
Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims visited these caves to pray at sacred sites. As you travel through southern India today, look for signs pointing to the Ellora caves. There are tour buses here from Hyderabad and Mumbai, but they can get crowded during peak season. It's a nice trip if you have a few days to explore South India.
The best time to visit Ellora is between April and October, when the climate is not too hot or cold. During the winter months (November-February), there may be rain, but the temperature remains comfortable.
There are plenty of accommodation options in and around Ellora. You can stay in the small towns where some of the shops sell similar items as well as clothes and food. Or you can choose to go camping inside one of the caves. There are several good campsites near Ellora with room for tents and caravans.