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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 4:15 AM
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Jai Jai is offline
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Ellora Verul Caves | Ellora, Maharashtra, India

Ellora (Marathi: वेरूळ Verul) is an archaeological site, 30 km (18.6 miles) from the city of Aurangabad in the Indian state of Maharashtra built by the Rashtrakuta Dynasty. 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 Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples and monasteries, were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29) and 5 Jain caves (caves 30-34), built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.

The Hindu caves were constructed in the c.7th century - 8th century and represent a different style of creative vision and execution skills. Some were of such complexity that they required several generations of planning and coordination to complete. The early caves (caves 17-29) were constructed during the Kalachuri period, while the caves 15 and 16 were constructed during Rashtrakuta period.

The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures, created between the fifth and seventh centuries. These consist mostly of viharas or monasteries: large, multi-storeyed buildings carved into the mountain face, including living quarters, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and other rooms.

Some of these monastery caves have shrines including carvings of Buddha, bodhisattvas and saints. In many of these caves, sculptors have endeavoured to give the stone the look of wood.

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 (cave 33). The Indra Sabha is a two storeyed shrine with a very fine carving of the lotus flower on the ceiling. In another cave, an imposing image of goddess Ambika is found seated on her lion under a mango tree, laden with fruits. All other Jain caves are also characterized by intricate detailing. Many of the structures had rich paintings in the ceilings - fragments of which are still visible.

Ellora, Maharashtra

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Credit goes to the original photographers pichenettes and aupeter100 (links under picture.)

Cheers,
Jai
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2009, 6:49 PM
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