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Explore Ellora Caves: History, Facts, Best Time and How To Reach

Ellora-Caves-Complete-Tourist-Guide

Situated in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, Ellora Caves is a series of 34 splendid rock-cut temples and monasteries, dug side-by-side. These caves were cut from basaltic cliffs during the 5th to 10th centuries. Representing, perhaps, the most exemplary rock-cut architecture of India, Ellora Caves are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Spread over 1.2 miles, the series of temples and monasteries in Ellora Caves comprise 12 Buddhist temples in the south direction, 17 Hindu Temples in the center, and 5 Jain temples in the north direction. 

Whether you are planning a trip to Ellora caves and looking for scholarly articles on Ellora Caves, read along this post to explore Ellora Caves, also spelled as Elura Caves. In this tourist guide, we will talk about Ellora Caves history, facts describe the 1-34 Ellora Caves in detail, the best time to visit Ellora Caves, and uncover the years-old Ellora Caves Mystery.

Let’s finish the warm-up and move to the actual exercise. Read along this post to get a broader and more precise picture of Ellora Caves.

Complete List of All Ellora Caves With Names
SerialCave Name
Cave Number 1 to 7Kanheri Caves
Cave Number 8 and 9Mahayana Monastery
Cave Number 10Vishwakarma Caveor Carpenter’s Hut
Cave Number 11Dho Tal
Cave Number 12Teen Tal
Cave Number 13 and 14Ravan Ki Kali
Cave Number 15The Dashavatara
Cave Number 16The Kailasa Temple or The Kailash Natha
Cave Number 17DantiDurga
Cave Number 18 and 19North Kailasa
Cave Number 20Nandi Mandapa
Cave Number 21Rameshwar Temple
Cave Number 22Nilkantha
Cave Number 23Trimurti
Cave Number 24Teli Ka Gana
Cave Number 25Kumbharwada
Cave Number 26Saiva Cave
Cave Number 27Milkmaid’s Cave
Cave Number 28Ravan Anugrah
Cave Number 29Dumar Lena
Cave Number 30Chota Kailash
Cave Number 31 to 32The Indra Sabha
Cave Number 33 and 34Jagannath Sabha

Ellora Caves History

Dates back to AD 600 to 1,000, The Ellora Caves is a series of rock-cut temples and monasteries. The whole complex has over 100 caves, featuring and preserving a multi-faith collection of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain sculptures and monuments.

Overview: Ellora Caves

  • Buddhist Caves (1-12)
  • Hindu Temples & Caves (13-29)
  • Jain Sculptures (30-34)

India has the most prosperous culture in the world. India, earlier known as ‘Aryavart’, has witnessed many kingdoms and dynasties reach inscrutable heights and fall. All of these kingdoms and dynasties, excluding the Mughal Empire, which includes the Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlak, Sayyid, and Lodi Dynasty, have together contributed to shaping the heritage treasure of India. As architecture and monuments remain the prominent remnants of Indian heritage, Ellora Caves is regarded as the pinnacle of Indian culture.

Famous Places To Visit in Ellora Caves (1-34)

Famous Places To Visit in Ellora Caves (1-34)

Among the 34 Ellora Caves given access to the general public, most caves have just sculptures and paintings. However, a group of 7-8 caves between 13-29 have impressive architecture. Read along to know the famous places to visit in Ellora Caves.

The Rameshwar Temple (Cave 21)

The Rameshwar Temple (Cave 21)

Perhaps the most significant entry among the other famous places to visit in Ellora Caves, The Rameshwar Temple’s construction began during the Kalachuri Dynasty. The cave’s construction was completed before the Rashtrakuta Dynasty reached the heights, which later caused the expansion of Ellora Caves.

Although the cave features similar characteristics to the other temples in the Ellora Caves series, the Rameshwar cave features several unique pieces. It sports a wall depicting the story of Goddess Parwati’s pursuit of Shiva, Parwati’s wedding to Shiva, Shiva in dancing mudra can be found in other Ellora Caves.

You May Be Interested: Most Visited Places From Ramayana

The Kailasa Temple (Cave 16)

The Kailasa Temple (Cave 16)

The Kailasa Temple in Cave 16 is the most famous among other Ellora Caves. With a Cromlech (megalith) carved out of a huge stone (cliff face), the Kailasa Temple is considered the most remarkable cave temple because of its awe-inspiring size, architecture and sculpture treatment. Being seated among the Oldest Hindu Temples in the Ellora Caves, the temple’s architecture is traced back to Pallava and Chalukya styles.

The Dashavatara (Cave 15)

The Dashavatara (Cave 15)

Occupying the centre of the Ellora Caves, cave number 15 in Ellora Caves is called Dashavatara Temple. It belongs to the era of the Rastrakuta king, Dantidurga. The sculptures in the cave mainly depict Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in different forms.

Though the cave has a similar layout and structure to the Buddhist caves 11 and 12, it presents the non-Buddhist features, Natya Mandap, at its entrance, primarily found in Kailasa and other caves dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The Vishwakarma (Cave 10)

The Vishwakarma (Cave 10)

The most notable entry in the Buddhist Caves among the 100 Ellora Caves, cave number 10, also called the Vishwakarma cave is a worship hall built around 650 CE. Because the rock has been given a finish that brings the wooden appearance to the beams, this multi-storeyed architecture is known as ‘Chaitya Grah’.

The entry of the Vishwakarma prayer hall has a rock-cut court, accessible via a few steps. The Varadha stand on pillars has small shrines at both ends and a single cell in the middle for meditation. Each cave in the Ellora Caves series has its significance and preserves the Indian heritage at its best.

Chota Kailash (Cave 30)

Chota Kailash (Cave 30)

Though it comes in the Jain caves in the series of Ellora Caves, Chota Kailasa or Little Kailasha, due to the architectural similarities to the Kailasha Temple of cave number 16. The cave was likely to be dug in the early 9th Century, beginning the construction of the lower level in Indra Sabha, following the completion of the Kailasha Temple.

The complex features two large-sized sculptures of dancing Indra, one with eight arms and another with twelve, both with the complete ornaments and crown. It is considered the most visited among the other famous places to visit in the Ellora Caves.

The Indra Sabha (Cave 32)

The Indra Sabha (Cave 32)

The Indra Sabha was cut out in Cave number 32 in the 9th century. It is a two-storey cave with many monolithic shrines in its complex. Since Indra is the main deity in all three religions (Hindu, Jain and Buddhism), the historians misname this as “Indra Sabha.”

As with other Ellora Caves, many carvings adorn the Indra Sabha, including rock-cut Lotus on the ceiling and other flora on the floor.

The Jagannath Sabha (Cave 33)

The Jagannath Sabha (Cave 33)

The Jagannath Sabha is the second largest and most crucial cave among other Ellora Caves after the Kailasa Temple. The architectural marvel imitates Ajanta Caves and traces back to the 9th century.

A double-storey cave with 12 massive pillars to support and Elephant heads projected towards the porch, Jagannath Sabha has the most beautiful pillar carving and ceiling art among other famous places to visit in the Ellora Caves.

Difference Between Ellora and Ajanta Caves?

What is the difference between Ajanta and Ellora Caves? This is the question that hits almost everyone before heading to the Ellora Caves, Maharashtra. While both Ajanta and Ellora Caves preserve the ancient Indian Heritage, they differ significantly in architecture and preservation.

Want to jump straight on the answer? Here you go!

Ajanta Caves are primarily popular for their paintings carved out on the cave walls. Moreover, the Ajanta Caves are built on the theme of Buddhist and Jainism. On the other hand, the Ellora Caves preserve the ancient heritage of Buddhism, Jainism and Hindu religion. Ellora Caves are the epitome of Indian Architecture, while the Ajanta caves number 1, 2, 9, 10, 17, and 19 are famous, as far as the painting is concerned.

If you have doubts about exploring Ajanta or Ellora Caves, this will help you make a better decision.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Ellora Caves?

Each season has its own significance, but the winter and monsoon touch the Indian heritages at their best. While most people travel in the cosy winters, others love to explore in the monsoon or spring. Therefore, the best time to visit Ellora Caves ultimately depends on your preferences.

Winter is considered the best season to explore the Ellora Caves if you prefer to go by our side. Here are the other details regarding ticket costs and opening timings of Ellora Caves.

Ellora Caves Ticket Cost

Indian VisitorsForeign Visitors
INR 35INR 550

Timing

Opening TimeClosing Time
06:00:00 am03:00:00 pm

Opening Days

OpenClosed
Ellora Caves are open for the rest of the days.Tuesday

How to Reach Ellora Caves?

Situated on a 27 km drive from the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, Ellora Caves are easily accessible via road, rail and air. You can reach Aurangabad, take a taxi, which usually offers a round trip for INR 1,000 (the cost may vary depending on the car type). The  Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation also provides bus tours to Ellora Caves. Here is a detailed itinerary to reach Ellora Caves.

Via Road

Nearest Bus Stand To Ellora Caves: Central Bus Stand in Aurangabad is just 27 km from Ellora Caves.

Via Rail

Nearest Railway Station To Ellora Caves: Aurangabad railway station is just 28 km away from Ellora Caves.

Via Air

Nearest Airport To Ellora Caves: You can drive to Ellora Caves from Aurangabad Airport, which is just 35 km away.

Hopefully, this post has cleared your doubts about the Ellora Caves. If you have more questions in mind, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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