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Ellora Caves 1-12 - The Buddhist Caves

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This entry was posted on 2/24/2008 2:05 AM and is filed under India.

Ellora (pronounced A-Lora), also known as Verul, is a World Heritage Site.  It has been a famous place of pilgrimage since ancient times.  It was a 3 hour drive from Meherabad with our trusted Addhi at the wheel. 

Ellora consists of 34 caves excavated over a period of 600 years, from the 5th century AD to the 11 century AD.    What is most amazing is that these caves, all created directly out of one mountain and extending in a row, comprise three very different religious expressions.

Caves 1-12 at the southernmost end of the site are the Buddhist shrines and monasteries and are the earliest structures created between the 5th and 7th centuries.  They are mainly monasteries or viharas – large multi-stories buildings carved into the mountain face.  Caves 1-9 are monasteries.  The small living quarters were nothing but simple holes cut out of the mountain, made for just one or two persons.

Here's an overview of the Buddhist caves...

and a detail...

Cave 10 is the most famous of the Buddhist Cave.  It is called the "Carpenter's Cave".  It has a cathedral like stupa hall with a carved ceiling made to look like wood beams.  In the heart of this cave is a 15 foot statue of Buddha seated in a preaching pose.

We saw lots of carvings of Buddha, bodhisattvas and other saints. 


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