Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Must see Caves – Ajanta

Cave 1

It is one of the best-preserved cave. The monastery consists of a hall, vestibule, sanctum sanctorum, an open verandah, and an open courtyard. There are three doorways- a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

The Sanctum contains the impressive image of seated Buddha in preaching posture.On the left, holding a water lily is the Bodhisattva Padmapani.

The sidewalls shows twoscenes from the Buddha’s life: his temptation by Mara just before hisenlightenment and the miracle of Sravasti, where Buddha multiplied himself intothousand images. Above the left porch of Cave 1 are friezes of the Three Signs(a sick man, an old man, and a corpse) that the Buddha saw on his fatefuljourney outside the palace that led him to become a monk.

Cave 2

 Cave 2 is famous for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. The facade of this Mahayana monastery cave shows the kings of Naga and their followers. The Murals in this cave shows hundreds of Hairstyles , make up and fashion.

Cave 4

 This cave contains Flying figures, guardians, images of Buddha, Maidens clutching trees and Dwarfs with garlands adorning the central doorway. One can also find images of a man resisting temptation from a woman and a man and woman running away from a mad elephant. The sanctuary has a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose.The ceiling of the hallpreserves a unique geological feature of a lava flow.

Cave 16

This cave is in the Middle of Ajanta complex and gives a good view of the river ravine. Cave 16 is called the Welcome Gate of Ajanta. Two elephants are at the doorway to welcome the visitors.The cave chamber is adorned with beautiful paintings. The portrait of the Dying Princess of this cave is one of the famous paintings of Ajanta.

Cave 17

This cave has a huge and gigantic-wheel representing the ‘Wheel of Life’.Other notable paintings include a princess applying makeup(You can notice the three dimensional pearl necklace on the girl’s neck) and a prince seducing a lover with wine.

Cave 19

This is a small cave but well-proportioned and is one of the most perfect specimens of Buddhist rock-cut architecture at Ajanta.

The hall has painted depictions of Buddha in various postures. There is a standing Buddha on the tall stupa. The stupa itself is crowned with an umbrella that nearly touches the roof. 

Cave 26

Cave 26 is quite similar to Cave 19, but of a larger dimension and with more elaborately and exquisitely carved sculpted figures

However, the most striking and prominent image of this cave is a large carved statue of the reclining Buddha, representing his moment of death. Below him, his followers mourn his passing; above, celestial beings rejoice. There is also a carving of Lord Buddha seated under the Bodhi tree at the center. 

Cave 29 – Here starts a waterfall of Waghur River with seven cascades (sat-kund).The water flows only during Monsoon season.

Must See Caves – Ellora

Cave 16

The construction was indeed a human genius -The entire temple complex is carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment.
The Sanctum contains a central shrine dedicated to Shiva and an image of Nandi. The temple has many sculptural designs depicting events from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. There is a scene in a relief of Ravana trying to shake Mount Kailash and Shiva pressing Ravana into the mountain with his feet. 

Cave 15 – Dasavathara cave

The walls of this cave’s second storey have the representations of Govardhanadhari Vishnu, Sheshasayi Vishnu, Vishnu on Garuda, Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, Vamana Avatar of Vishnu, Narasimha Avatar of Vishnu, etc,.(All 10 incarnations of Vishnu). Tripurantaka and Lingodbhava are depicted on two panels to the south of the entrance.

Cave 14

This cave is known as Ravana Ka Khai was initially a Buddhist vihara and converted to a Hindu Vihara. The walls contain the sculptures of Bhavani, Gajalakshmi, Varaha, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Mahisasuramardini, Lord Siva and Parvati playing the dice game, Nataraja, Ravana shaking Kailasha Mountain, and Andhakasura. By the side of these sculptural representations is the depiction of Saptamatrikas (Seven Divine Mothers), Indrani with the elephant, Varahi with boar, Lakshmi with Garuda, Maheshwari with the bull, etc. 

Cave 12

This is also known as Teen Tal is the largest complex at Ellora, with its three-tier structure. Various sculptural representations of Buddha and other deities adorn the walls.

Cave 10 – Viswakarma cave

The Viswakarma Cave is also locally known as the Carpenter’s hut. (He is the head carpenter among the Gods).The local carpenters visit the cave frequently and worship Buddha as Viswakarma, the patron of their craft.

Cave 21 – Rameshwara cave

The walls of the mandapa has massive sculptural representations like Saptamatrikas, Nataraja, Kali,  the marriage of Siva and Parvati, Subrahmanya and Mahisasuramardini.
On either side of the entrance to the shrine are two huge depictions, Ravananugraha murti to its north and Siva and Parvati playing the game of Dice to its south. The entrance doorway of the shrine is very elaborate, divided into different segments, and profusely carved. The entrance is guarded by two Dwarabalakas, one on each side. The sanctum contains a linga. A surrounding passage is scooped out of the live rock for Pradakshina

Jain caves

There are five Jain Caves at Ellora belonging to the Digambara sect. Jain Caves reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy and tradition. These caves reflect a strict sense of asceticism – they are not relatively large as compared to others, but they present exceptionally detailed art works. The most remarkable Jain caves are the Cave 30, 32 (the Indra Sabha) and 33( the Jagannath Sabha). Cave 34 is a small cave, which can be entered through an opening on the left side of Cave 33.
Cave 32 is actually a series of shrines dedicated to Mahavira and other Jain divinities arranged in double storeys. The ground floor is plain, but the upstairs has intricate carvings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *