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Ellora Caves Tour

Cave 12 (Teen Tal ): A three-storeyed excavation, this is the last in the series of Buddhist caves. The lowest floor consists of a long hall with small cells carved in the side walls and a shrine in the canter. The intermediate level has similar architecture. The upper level has a hall with rows of seven Buddhas flanked by flying on both sides of the antechamber. Within the antechamber, leading into the shrine, are twelve goddesses seated on double-petalled lotus flowers.

Cave 13: This is the first in the series of Hindu caves at Ellora. It only has a small storage hall.

Cave 14 (Ravan ki Khai): A single-storeyed excavation dating from the 7th century, this is a small sanctuary with a doorway adorned with large guardians and river goddesses. The panels carved on the side walls of the hall include various Hindu deities. On the left wall are sculptures of the goddess Durga, Lord Vishnu seated with Shridevi and Bhudevi, and Lord Vishnu with his consort. The right wall has sculptures of Durga, the dancing Shivs, Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa ( the sculpture from which the cave derives its name) and shiva spearing Andhaka the demon.

Cave 15 (Dashavatara): This was excavated as a Buddhist monastery in the 8th century and was later converted to a place of Hindu worship. It has an open court with a free- standing, monolithic Mandapa, or a columned hall, in the middle and a two-storeyed temple at the rear. The doorway of the Mandapa is flanked by the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. On the roof are reclining lions and seated Ganas, or dwarfs. A flight of step to the left of the entrance, ascends to a spacious Mandapa on the upper floor. Large sculptural panels occupying the spaces between the columns illustrate the ten incarnations, the Dashavatara, of Lord Vishnu and a wide range of mythological subjects. Clockwise, from the front of the left wall, are Shiva and Parvati. Amoung other sculptures on the rear wall, from the left, are Shivaemerging from they Linga to rescue Markandeya a young devotee, and Shiva containing the force of the river Ganga in his hair.

Cave 16 (Kailasa): The most stupendous single work of art ever executed in India this is an elaborately embellished, three-story high temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is unique for being carved out of solid rock from top of bottom. The exterior wall has a gateway in the middle that leads into a spacious court surrounding the main temple. In front is the free standing Nandi pavilion with richly decorated, 17 -metre high monolithic columns, sending on either side. A pair of three dimensional elephant stands nearby. Porticos and shrine are cut into the side walls of the court. To the left of the entrance is a shrine housing images of the river goddesses and , to its immediate right, is the Lankeshvara Temple. The west facing temple is raised on a solid lower story, with its walls sculpted with elephant gathering lotus flowers. At the Nandi pavilion and in turn, with the upper story of the gateway. The sculptural scheme at Kailasa is elaborate. Guardians and river goddesses appear at the gateway of complex, while Durga (right) and Ganesha (left) flank the interior passageway. The two staircases leading to the Mandapa of the main temple are carved with narrative friezes. These include episodes from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharta. The panels which adorn the lower story depict Shiva dancing with the skin of the elephant demon. The upper storey Mandapa walls show, the vulture, Jatayu, attacking Ravana (south), among others. In the subsidiary shrines are images of the goddesses Lakshmi and Durga amoung other deities.

Cave 17: This cave, partly incomplete, is noteworthy for its richly decorated doorway and pillars.

Cave 18, 19 & 20: These caves adhere to the usual pattern of traditional Hindu architecture. Cave 21 (Rameshvara) : This is one of the earliest excavations at Ellora dating back to the 7th century. It is approached through a court with a monolithic Nandi, on a plinth. This leads to a verandah, on the left of which is the gracefully posed figure of the river goddess Ganga, while the figure of Yamuna is sculpted on the right. Carved panels in the hall include the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, their warrior son Kartikeya, and Durga (left end of the shrine), the dancing Shiva, the seven Matrikas a group of seven goddesses, with Lord Ganesha and Shiva holding the veena, and the skeletal Kala and Kali (right end of the shrine).

Caves 22 to 28: Except for the free standing Nandi shrine in Cave 22 and a sculpture of Surya, the sun god, on the ceiling of Cave 25 there is nothing particularly noteworthy in these caves.

Cave 29 (Dhumar Lena): The earliest excavation at Ellora, this cave has a shrine, with a Shiva Linga inside. The four entrances of the shrine are guarded by Dwarapals, or guardians, and accompanying lady attendants. On the left and right walls are scenes of Shiva and Parvati.

Cave 30 (Chhota Kailasa): This is the first in the series of Jain excavations, and an incomplete , miniature replica of the Kailasa Temple. Carved ornamentation is mostly restricted to the Jain saints and goddesses. Twenty-two seated Tirthankaras, or teachers worshipped by the Jains, are located in the Mandapa. An image of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, seated on a lion throne, is enshrined in the sanctuary.

Cave 31: This is an extension of Cave 32 rather than a separate excavation.

Cave 32 (Indra Sabha): This is the finest excavation of the Jain Caves. An open court, with its sides adorned with lions, elephant friezes and Trithankars, has a monolithic shrine in the center . A double storeyed temple is excavated into the rear side of the court. On the lower level is an unfinished Mandapa comprising incomplete cells, the upper story has a similar columned mandapa which is more complete, with a sanctuary in the middle of its rear wall. Among the sculptures deserving special attention are ambika, the mother goddess, with a child in her lap, a lion beneath and a huge tree above. Other panels depict Lord Mahavira, Gommateshwara- son of Adinatha, the first Trithankara, and Parshwanatha the second last Tirthankara. Paintings on the ceiling of the upper Mandapa show couples and maidens flying through the clouds.

Cave 33 (Jagannath Sabha): This cave has five independent shrine, each with a columned Mandapa and sanctuary built on two levels. Cave 34 : The last in the series of Jain caves, this is a small sanctuary situated at the extreme northern end. The shrine door is carved with figures of Matanga and Sidhaika, on either side. A seated of Mahavira is housed in the center of the shrine.

Cave time : 9 .00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.

Important :
The Ellora Caves are closed to the public on Mondays and National Holidays.

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