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Ellora Caves

After seeing the Daulatabad Fort we rejoined the coaches and moved on to the Ellora Caves about an hours drive away.  The Ellora site consist of 34 caves in three groups, there are twelve Buddhist caves (7th and 8th century AD), seventeen Hindu caves (7th to 9th century AD) and five Jain caves (9th century AD).  This mix reflects the changes in fortune of the three religion and the Buddhist religion faded under a resurgence of Hinduism in southern India and to a lesser extent Jainism.

The caves have been carved out of a 1.3 mile long escarpment.  Some of the caves are temple for worship while others are more basic living quarters.

The most impressive is the Hindu Kailasanatha Temple, which is not really a cave as it not enclosed, rather it was hewn straight from the hill edge.  Three large channels were cut and the temple then revealed from the rock that remained.  Apparently it involved the removal of 200,000 tonnes of rock is twice the area and one and a half times taller than the Parthenon in Athens.  Going around it was hard to take in the scale because you are so close to it but sheer ability to conceive and shape the building by removing rock rather then building it up is staggering.


The front view of the Kailsanatha Temple, conservation work was in progress hence the blue and white tarpaulins.











The entrance to the temple













Elephants were carved to give the appearance of supporting the building.



















Two side views of the central building.


















This picture was taken from a first storey veranda over the entrance.  This shows roughly half the courtyard and buildings, there is another elephant and obelisk to the right.  The obelisk stands 17m high while the elephants are life size.
















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