Ellora Cave Temples

Top choice in Maharashtra

The saga of the hammer and chisel comes full circle at the Unesco World Heritage-listed Ellora cave temples, located 30km from Aurangabad. The pinnacle of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture, these caves were chipped out laboriously over five centuries by generations of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks.

Monasteries, chapels, temples – the caves served every purpose, and the style quotient was duly met by embellishing them with a profusion of remarkably detailed sculptures. Unlike the caves at Ajanta, which are carved into a sheer rock face, the Ellora caves line a 2km-long escarpment, the gentle slope of which allowed architects to build elaborate courtyards in front of the shrines as well.

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1. Kailasa Temple

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One of India’s greatest monuments, this astonishing temple, carved from solid rock, was built by King Krishna I in AD 760 to represent Mt Kailasa (Kailash…

2. Cave 15

0.11 MILES

Cave 15, the Das Avatara (Ten Incarnations of Vishnu) Cave, is one of the finest at Ellora. The two-storey temple contains a mesmerising Shiva Nataraja…

4. Cave 14

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Cave 14, the Ravana-ki-Khai, is a Buddhist vihara converted to a temple dedicated to Shiva sometime in the 7th century.

5. Cave 13

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Cave 13 is a simple Hindu cave, most likely a granary.

6. Hindu Caves

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Drama and excitement characterise the Hindu group (Caves 13 to 29). In terms of scale, creative vision and skill of execution, these caves are in a league…

7. Cave 12

0.16 MILES

Cave 12, the huge Tin Thal (Three Storey) Cave, is entered through a courtyard. The locked shrine on the top floor contains a large Buddha figure flanked…

8. Cave 21

0.19 MILES

Cave 21, known as the Ramesvara Cave, features interesting interpretations of familiar Shaivite scenes depicted in the earlier temples. The figure of the…