Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage site from Aurangabad district, comprising more than 100 rock-cut caves. Out of which, only 34 are open to the public. The complex has caves from Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain faith. It is famous for the exceptional monolithic shrine of Kailash Mandir.
Aurangabad District, Maharashtra, India.
The Ellora caves complex is one of the most beautiful heritage sites in the world. These caves were carved between the 6th to 10th centuries CE. The caves are numbered from south to north and not based on the actual chronology of the caves. Out of the 34 accessible caves, 12 belong to Buddhism, 17 to Hinduism and 5 to Jainism.
lifesize statues of elephants and two tall victory pillars. There are columned galleries decorated with huge sculpted panels of a variety of deity Buddhist Caves: Almost all Buddhist caves belong to the 6th and 7th centuries CE. One can see significant artwork in caves number 5, 10, and 12. Cave 10 is a Chaitya (Prayer Hall), and Caves 11 and 12 are the only known multistoried elaborated Buddhist Monasteries in India. They house numerous esoteric Buddhist deities.
Hindu Caves:- Caves number 13 to 29 are Hindu caves from the 7th to 9th century CE. Caves number 15, 16, 21 and 29 are considered as most beautiful amongst the Hindu caves at Ellora. Cave 15 is a multistoried Shaiva monastery resembling caves 11 and 12. This cave has numerous noteworthy sculptures carved on the interior walls and some of the images still have traces of plaster left indicating the paintings on the sculptures. Cave 16 is known as the Kailasa Mandir, the unrivalled centrepiece of Ellora. It looks like a constructed multistoried temple, but it is a monolithic structure carved out of one single rock. The courtyard has two lifees on the side walls. Even this temple has a few traces of painting and inscriptions. Cave 29 is an elaborate cave temple resembling the cave at Elephanta near Mumbai.
Jaina Caves:- These caves are clustered in five excavations and numbered 30 to 34. Apart from these, there are six more Jaina caves on the opposite face of this hill. All of these caves belong to the Digambara sect of Jainism. Cave number 32, known as Indrasabha is very elaborate, and one should not miss this. Its lower storey lies unfinished, while the upper storey is the largest and most elaborate cave with beautiful pillars, large sculptural panels and paintings on its ceiling.
The Ellora caves are 29 KM the Northwest of Aurangabad city. The closest village is Khuldabad and the famous fort of Daulatabad.
The region of Aurangabad has a hot and dry climate. The summers are more extreme than winters and monsoon, with a temperature up to 40.5 degrees Celsius.
Winters are mild, and the average temperature varies from 28-30 degrees Celsius.
Monsoon season has extreme seasonal variations, and the annual rainfall in Aurangabad is around 726 mm.
Things to do
The complete tour of Ellora caves requires 4-5 hours. Apart from the Ellora caves, one can visit the Ganesh Lena cave complex. Waterfalls and streams on the site create a scenic environment at the site. A visit to the information centre is recommended.
Nearest tourist places
- Grishneshwar temple, Ellora (5.3 KM)
- Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad Caves (29.2 KM)
- Daulatabad fort (13.2 KM)
- Khuldabad village and tomb of Aurangzeb (5 KM)
- Aurangabad caves (30.9 KM)
Special food speciality and hotel
Non-veg: Naan Khaliya
Vegetarian: Hurda, Daal Batti, Vaangi Bharata (a special preparation of Brinjal/Eggplant), Shev Bhaji
Agricultural Produce: Bananas from Jalgaon.
Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station
Ellora site has all basic tourist facilities. Several hotels are available in and around Aurangabad for accommodation.
Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit
Ellora Caves' visiting hours are 9.00 AM to 5.00 P.M. (Tuesday Closed)
No eatables are allowed at the site.
The best season to visit these caves is from June to March as the weather during these months.
Language spoken in area
English, Hindi, Marathi