Yet another World Heritage Site and a marvel of Indian Rock-cut architecture is the Ellora group of caves. It is located at a distance of 30 km from Aurangabad city and consists of 34 caves.
A part of Charanandri Hills, the Ellora caves depict religious harmony in their Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves. They came into existence between Kalachuri and Rashtrakuta periods. The 17 Hindu caves (Caves 13-29) were built between 500 and 1000 AD. Amazingly, it took 100 years for the completion of these caves from a monolithic rock. Around 200,000 tonnes of rock pieces were removed during the process of sculpting. The most famous of these is Kailashnatha Cave or Cave of Lord Shiva, whose abode was Mount Kailash. A dancing image of Nataraja or Lord Shiva and carvings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s marriage is depicted on the walls. The whole cave appears to be seated on the head of an elephant, while there are ample frescoes, sculptures and carvings throughout these caves. The 12 Buddhist caves mainly comprise Chaityas and Viharas with shrines of Lord Buddha seated in various poses for preaching. Cave 10, also called Vishwakarma or Carpentar’s cave is a Chaitya hall with a 15ft. statue of Buddha and is the most magnificent of all. Amongst the Jain Caves include Chotta Kailash (30th cave), Indra Sabbha (Cave 32) and Jagannath Sabba (Cave 33) which portray images of Ambika and Neminatha all symbolizing asceticism.
The Ellora caves have multi-storey shrines and have been recognized as the most impressive of Dravidian art. These caves attract a large number of tourists annually.