Ellora Caves :
Interesting Facts –
Ellora caves have been hewn out of the volcanic basaltic formation of Maharashtra, known as ‘Deccan Trap’,
The Great Kailasa is a freestanding, multi-storied temple complex, built to resemble Mount Kailasa – the abode of Lord Shiva.
The hills that have served as the venue of Ellora caves form part of the Sahyadri ranges of the Deccan. These ranges date back to Cretaceous era of the Geological time scale (about 65 million years ago ).The hills rise abruptly from the surrounding plains on the south and west, the western surface being extensively utilised for hewing the cave complexes. The hill also supports several streams, the prominent among them being the Elaganga, which drains into the Shiv, a stream of the Godavari river system. The Elaganga is in its full vigour during the monsoon, when the overflowing waters of a barrage in the upstream near Mahismati allows the gushing waters to land at “Sita-ki-nahani” near Cave 29 as a crashing waterfall.
The Kailash Temple is a stupendous piece of architecture , with interesting spatial effects and varied sculpture.
It is believed to have been started by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (756-773). The construction was a feature of human genius –it entailed removal of 250,000 tons of rock, took 100 years to complete and covers an area double the size of Parthenon in Athens.
The Ellora Caves were built during the times when Buddhism was diminishing in India and Hinduism was beginning to gain pace. This happening was at its peak under the empire of Chalukya and Rashtrakuta emperors. These reigns saw majority of the cave building activity however, the activity began before Rashtrakuta arrived in the region. The last building activity of the caves took place in the 10th century when the then rulers switched from Hinduism to Jainism. There are 34 caves in all:12 Buddhist caves (500-750AD), 17Hindu caves(600-870Ad) and 5 Jain caves (800-1000AD). The caves are numbered chronologically, starting with the oldest Buddhist cave.
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