What is the significance of Ellora Caves?

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Ellora caves located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ellora caves did not, however, remain unexplored due to the proximity to the trade routes.

These caves are one of the finest examples of rock-cut architecture in India with construction beginning during the time of Vakatakas and architecture reaching its zenith during Rashtrakutas. Ellora caves are excavated out of volcanic basalt rock peculiar in the Deccan region

The significance of the caves can be understood according to their classification.

Buddhist Caves

  • Cave no.1 to Cave no.12 is the Buddhist group of caves in Ellora. These are mostly Viharas and Chaityas. Cave no. 10 is the most important Chaitya hall and it houses a huge sculpture of Buddha. Chaitya is basically a Buddhist Prayer Hall.
  • These caves show an evolution from simple structures to more complex ones. Cave no. 11 and 12 are multi-storeyed structures. Each of these caves has images depicting Buddha and Bodhisattvas.

Hindu Caves

  • The Hindu caves in Ellora are from 13 to 29 which is situated in the middle of the complex. Cave 15 depicts that transition from a closed cave to an open cave in phases of cave architecture. Cave 15 has the Dashavatara sculptures which show ten incarnations of Vishnu.
  • Cave 16 is the most impressive and the significant amongst all the caves in Ellora. The Kailasa Temple was built to depict Shiva’s abode during the reign of Krishna I of Rashtrakuta dynasty.
  • Cave 21 is known as the Ramesvara Cave and features the interpretations of Shaivite scenes.
  • Cave no.29 viz. the Dhumar Lena is the most preserved of all the caves and has panels depicting Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Brahma, and other motifs and figurines in the Cave.

Cave 21 holds the reliefs of Rameshwaram. Cave no.29 viz. the Dhumar Lena is the most preserved of all the caves and has panels depicting Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Brahma, and other motifs and figurines in the Cave.

Jain Caves

  • Cave no.30 to cave no.34 are predominantly the Jain caves. Cave 32 (Indra Sabha) deserves a noteworthy mention as it is also referred to as Chota Kailasa. It has a depiction of Jain Tirthankaras Parashvanatha, Mahavira, and Gomateshwara. There are few paintings on walls that have survived the test of time. It serves as a proof for large-scale worship by the Jain community.
raja
Published on 27-Dec-2018 16:09:18
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