Ellora cave : 5th Century Revisited.

Far from the madding crowd, in the village of Velur , stand the Elapura  or Ellora caves ,locally known as ‘Verul Leni’ Outstanding sculptures of the 34 caves of Elapura representing  one of the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire world will render you speechless.It also represents the  largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cave 16).

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The caves are hewn out of the volcanic basaltic formation of Maharasthra, known as ‘Deccan Trap’, The rock formation, on weathering has given rise to the appearance of terraces with flat summits. At Ellora, one can also have a glimpse of the channels with a characteristic brownish red colour near Cave 32, through which the volcanic lava once flowed .

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What unique about Ellora is , here rock-cut temples and viharas and maths of three world’s ancient religions-Buddhist, Hindu and Jain coexist. Built between the 5th century and 10th century, here stands The 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves. They demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history which is rare to find in  most part of the world.

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1421284_691593410874221_127127328_o 1465787_691555604211335_92378883_o  Several inscriptions at Ellora range from 6th century to 15th century. The best known of them is an inscription of Rashtrakuta Dantidurga (c. 753-57 A.D.) on the back wall of the front mandapa of Cave 15, which gives an account of his conquests.

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You have to take a flight to Mumbai and another connecting flight to Aurangabad. Ellora is located  at a distance of 30 km north-northwest . You have to stay in Aurangabad , I will recommend you Hotel Lemon Tree for stay. It has nice ambience and an awesome kitchen. Wifi , 24 hour transport services to airport (paid) and swimming pool are available. The room rates in 2013 December was around 80 euro per night for two persons. From Aurangabad, you have to book a car to visit the Ellora cave. You better start early in the morning ,because you will need the whole day to see all the caves  where entry is permitted. Not all the 34 caves are open for travellers. You can come back to hotel on the same day. And next day go for Ajanta caves , another wonder of ancient India.

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