Maharashtra trip 5: Ellora

26 December 2007

It was 12 in the noon when we reached Ellora. We first went to Grishneshwar, one of the twelve Jyothirlinga. We had to stand in the slow moving queue for more than an hour. Here, the devotees have the opportunity to touch the linga. Some people pretend to be hysteric upon touching the linga and it becomes a Herculean task for the Poojaris to move them further. The Temple style is similar to Trimbakeshwar.

We had lunch at some Andhra style hotel who served third class food. We did not have much option in that place and devoured whatever we could.

After lunch, we went to the famous Ellora caves. It is the best case study of the Indian rock cut architecture. There are 34 caves carved out of the hills. The caves are comprised of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves and were built between 5th and 10th century. There are 12 are Buddhist caves (1-12), 17 Hindu caves (13-29) and 5 Jain caves (30-34).
The most important of all the caves is the cave no 16, also called as Kailasanatha Temple just opposite to parking area. There cannot be any other rock cut architecture that can better this one. Its sheer size is enough to convince that it is the best. Entire Temple complex is carved out of a single rock from the hill. This one was built from top and not from the bottom or front. Huge quantities of rock (2,00,000 tonnes) was removed to shape the Temple and it took nearly 150 years to complete this Temple. The Temple is modeled on the Virupaksha Temple of Pattadakkal.
I was extremely busy in taking the pictures of the Temple and listening to the narrations of the guide. Taking pictures was tricky because of the shades. Some extremely religious people in our group were disappointed by the fact that there was no pooja happening at the Temple and refused to appreciate the carvings of the Temple. ಏನ್ರಿ ಇದೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ? (what is here?) was their attitude.

The stone carved pillar of the Temple.
The elephant that is carved out of rock, damaged due to time. Many of the structures are destroyed by the invaders.
Bridge connecting Nandi Mandap to the porch of the temple.
The corridor of the Temple.
Narration of Ramayana on the rock.
While other went for shopping after seeing the Temple, I climbed the rock to take the pictures of the Temple from the top and also visit couple of other caves.
Ellora caves are the must see for every Indian. One feeds proud about our great culture that flourished thousand years ago.

Nashik – Ellora: 180kms