Memorials of Religious Faiths in Architectural Designs and Sculptures in Ellora Caves

I had a tourist trip to visit Ellora Caves situated in District Aurangabad Maharashtra India on November 19, 2010. I took the help of a tourist  guide approved by A.S.I. (Archaeological Survey of India) to see the caves; who explained the implications of different architectural designs and sculptures.

Ellora caves, spanning the period between the 5th and 11th Century A.D. comprise Buddhist monasteries and temples of the Hindu and Jain faiths which  are the product of three religious systems-Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism containing elaborate carvings of gods and goddesses and remarkable memorials of the three great faiths they represent. The excavations on a slopping hill-side are spread over an area  of about two kilometres.There are 34 caves in total: Caves No. 1 to 12 are Buddhist group, the Caves No.13 to 29 belong to Hindu group and  Caves No. 30 to 34 are in Jain group. I preferred to see three caves in detail described below one each from the three religious faiths and overview of other caves.

Cave No.10 of the Buddhist group of caves is the chaitya or prayer hall. The Buddha in stupa was worshiped here by the Buddhist monks. This cave temple was dedicated to Vishwakarma, the architecture and the patron saint of many Indian artisans. The sound produced inside the hall resounds, the roof acting like an amplifier of sound system. It was demonstrated by the guide by chanting ‘Om’.

Cave No.16 of the Hindu group of caves is by far the best of all Ellora excavations. The rock-cut architecture of this cave is regarded as the greatest monolithic structure in the world. The cave was celebrated as the Kailash, Shiva`s mountain abode. Shiva with his consort Parvati was worshiped here by the Shaivites.Episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata have been depicted in sculpture on the Southern and Northern sides  of  Kailash respectively. Kailash combines immensity with superb genius of Indian architect.

Cave No.32 of the Jain group of caves is known as Indra Sabha.There is figure of Mahavira, the founder of Jain faith. The predecessor of Mahavira, tirthankara Parasnath also figures in the cave.It is to be noted that while Jain images have a peculiar heaviness, the pillars and walls of the cave carry ornamental work of great delicacy.

Ellora is famous for its architectural design and outstanding sculptures and it is one of the World Heritage Sites. I was lucky to visit it during the World Heritage Week.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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19 Responses to Memorials of Religious Faiths in Architectural Designs and Sculptures in Ellora Caves

  1. Very nice description of the caves.
    I visited these caves in a tour in my undergraduation time.
    I hardly recollect anything at the moment, but reading this article has reinforced my memory.

    The caves are world heritage sites and a nice monument of understanding of these periods and faith in those times.
    You have elaborated these nicely.
    Thanks for the communication.

  2. Vinod Varma says:

    I have heard a lot about but never been to this place.
    Thanks for sharing the experience.
    It is quite informative.
    Very valuable from spiritual, historical and artistic perspectives.

  3. Satya Ramana says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.

    Though I am originally from Bombay, I never had the chance to visit these caves.
    Yes, now being in Bangalore, fortunately could see the the historic architect of Hoysala Dynasty – Bellur, Halebid and The Hampi – declared as the World Heritage by UNESCO.

  4. Gyanaprakash Kar says:

    Thanks Sir ,
    Thanks for sharing ur experience in Yoga. Actually Yoga is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. In one word ,we can say it is fully mental satisfaction.

    Your article on Ellora Caves is valuable from spiritual, historical and artistic perspectives.

    Hearty Welcome to Orissa to Bargarh & as well as to my office Chamber in D.T.C.

  5. V. Nageswara Rao says:

    Jai Sainath,

    Thank You very much for sharing the experience of your visit to Ellora Caves.
    The description of all the 3 Religious and 34 Caves, mostly one each important cave of the 3 religions is highly appreciable.

    It’s easy to visit and see many holy and historic places in human life, if we have time and money;but you are great enough to describe elaborately in writing about a particular place, its importance and the messages communicated are useful to learn for many.

    The remembrance ,memory power and writing skill in this old age might be due to your positive attitude towards creating awareness among many about the particular place or person.

    Sainath might have blessed you with all these skills.

    I am always happy to read all your articles and sending time to time feedback.

    With Regards,
    V.Nageswara Rao,
    Zonal Coordinator, LEPRA Society Health in action
    Axshya India GF TB Project, Odisha

  6. Arjun Bhargav says:

    Hello Dr.Panda Uncle,
    I read your article on ‘Memorials of Ellora Caves’.Thanks for sharing your experience with us.So far I had only heard about the existence of the caves and through your article I got to know the historical significance of it as well.We will consider this place for our next excursion.I thank you for spending your valuable time in penning such fine articles for us.I hope you write more such articles for us which keeps us updated about unknown places and things.

  7. I’ve been studying architecture for over 20 years.It is safe to say that the architecture of building Ellora Caves is the most aspiring one on the planet.

    Visit it once and you will agree with me!

  8. Canon Volstad, Chicago USA says:

    I’ve been studying design of buildings for over 10 years.I am to say that the design of Ellora Caves is the most incredible one on the planet.

    Visit it and you will definitely agree with me!

  9. I never had been to this World Heritage site. Doctor,I suggest you to add few photographs to complement this post. Without images the efforts that you have taken are incomplete. It will be very nice to post the images if you have taken during your visit.

  10. Satyajit Panda says:

    Dadu Namaskar.
    We visited the Ellora Caves on 27th December 2012, the day after we had Darshan of Sai in Shirdi.It is very wonderful. I learnt many things after seeing the caves.

  11. Basant Nayak says:

    Indeed it’s very impressive rock-cut temple & monasteries. Ellora has attracted many antiquarians, scholars and a number of tourists for its outstanding design, scriptures & architect.

  12. Must have enjoyed the entire trip..

  13. I read the article,though it was very short note,still then very informative. More similar blogs are expected from you, Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda.

  14. Prasanna Kumar Sahoo says:

    Juhar Agnya, mote apananka lekha padhi bahuta Khusi lagila. Apananka tharu bahuta kichi sikhibara achhi. Many Many Thanks.

  15. Dhandapani Muthuswamy says:

    Nice Trip to Ellora Caves, one of the World Heritage Sites during the World Heritage Week.

  16. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    Thank u for sharing ur experience of visit trip to Ellora. I have heard about the world heritage site but had never got a chance to visit the place. Thanks for giving a brief description and information about the place.

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