Explore Aurangabad Caves: Top 5 Things To Do In Ellora Caves
The handiwork of generations of monks, who spent over five centuries building these Aurangabad caves, Ellora caves stands out for its intricate rock-cut architecture. One of the most loved places to visit in Aurangabad, come explore this UNESCO heritage site with the Deccan Odyssey.
Aurangabad Caves – Let’s Explore
The world-famous Ellora Caves in Aurangabad stand testament to the religious harmony in ancient Indian history. This famous Aurangabad caves complex was cut out of rock and built 1,500 years ago, between the 6th and 10th centuries, and features 34 fascinating, well-preserved caves spread over 2km. Carved out of volcanic basaltic formations, known as the ‘Deccan Trap’, these caves and ancient relics represent the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions. While every corner of this open-air art gallery is beautiful, here are 5 things you should do for the complete experience of Ellora caves.
1) Gaze at the 15ft preaching Buddha in the Vishvakarma Cave
The Buddhist caves (1-12) were one of the first to be carved at Ellora. While most of these contain viharas or Buddhist prayer halls, the Vishvakarma or Carpenter’s Cave is one of the most popular places to visit in Aurangabad. This vihara contains eight prayer cells and a 15ft statue of the Buddha sitting in a teaching pose. The cave’s vaulted ceiling looks like a ribbed wooden roof, decorated with south Indian icons and motifs, including apsaras and monks.
2) Cave 16 In Ellora Caves: Visit The Kailasanatha Temple
Cave 16 is most famous for being the world’s biggest single monolithic excavation. One of the 17 Hindu caverns in Ellora caves, it features the amazing Kailasa temple, a multi-storied complex and engineering marvel that was built by King Krishna I as a representation of Lord Shiva’s abode (Mount Kailash). Best among the famed Aurangabad caves, this massive structure is twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and has beautiful monolithic pillars and 10 immense panels that depict Lord Vishnu’s 10 avatars. For a breath-taking view of the beautiful temple complex, hike up the south of the complex to reach the top perimeter.
3) Cave 15 In Ellora Caves: See The 10 Avatars Of Vishnu
Locally known as ‘Verul Leni,’ the Ellora caves are one of the largest monastic-temple complexes in the world that have been hewn from rock. And Cave 15 is a must visit as it contains the Dashavatara temple, which represent the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu, a Hindu god. There are also other reliefs that depict Lord Shiva and Parvati’s marriage, the dancing Shiva, the Garuda, etc.
4) Explore The Five Jain Caves
Located one kilometre to the north of Cave 29, the Jain caves at Ellora caves are numbered 30 to 34 and stand a little away from the Hindu and Buddhist caves. However, the few and comparatively smaller Jain caves don’t do justice to the beauty and art seen here. The most beautiful among all Aurangabad caves, these Jain caves have the most artwork, with detailed paintings on the walls and ceilings that look magnificent. Cave 30 (Chhota Kailasa) and Cave 32 (Indra Sabha) are two of the most popular Jain temples, with elaborate carvings and panels. You can either walk to the Jain caves or take a bus from the main entrance of the caves but do not miss out as this is one of the best places to visit in Aurangabad.
5) Shop For Traditional Souvenirs
Once you’re done exploring the Ellora caves, make sure you visit the open-air markets near Ellora and pick up locally made paintings of various Hindu, Buddhist and Jain gods as a souvenir. These markets are also a great place to shop for accessories, clothes, and footwear. From intricate Bidri silver-inlay artifacts and handcrafted Buddha sculptures to Paithani saris and Himroo shawls, Ellora is a small yet power-packed treasure trove for shoppers.
The Ellora Caves are one of the must-visit places to visit in Aurangabad, India for all those who love history and architecture. A visit to this UNESCO Heritage site gives you a chance to admire some of India’s most stunning art and architecture, immortalised in stone forever. Turn back time in this magical Aurangabad caves in India, with a journey aboard the Deccan Odyssey.