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Home >> Travel India>> India Heritage Area

Ellora Caves

Nestled in the crook of the Charanadari hill in Deccan is a series of ancient temples and monasteries hewn out of the moutainside. Situated on the ancient north- south trade route or the dakshinapatha, the tiny mountain village of Verul - mutated today to Ellora -was a well- known stopover for traders, priests and pilgrims who plied the route to the western ports.

Beginning sometime in the 7th century, when the Chalukyas (AD 553 - 753) ruled the Deccan, these wayfarers decided to make their presence permanent. And excavation started on a number of Buddhist chaityas and viharas. The place found favour with missionaries of other faiths as well, and over the next five centuries, Hindus and Jains also built their temples in the rocks there.
A path often tread upon:
Unlike the caves at Ajanta, the Ellora caves were never 'lost'. Largely because it lay on a more frequented route, Ellora remained in the public eye. In fact, Kailasa Temple remained a practising shrine until the 19th century. Several travellers to India including the 10th century Arab geographer Al Masudi and Niccolao. Manucci in early 17th century mention the caves in their accounts.

The Caves :
There are 34 caves, of which 12 are Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain. The caves all face west, so are best seen in the afternoon. The Buddhist caves are to your far right as you face the curve of the Charanadari Hill, then come the Hindu ones, and finally, the Jain cave temples to the far left. 


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