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Elora
 


Elora is situated 30 km northwest from Aurangabad. There we find unique complex of cave temples and monasteries carved by Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks.

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3 x bigger picture in new window Altogether 34 caves are numbered from south to north.
3 x bigger picture in new window 12 south caves were made and inhabited by Buddhist monks, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain. They were built in the same order from 7-th to 13-th century.
3 x bigger picture in new window Caves are facing west, so the best time for visit is afternoon.
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The works on Hindu caves started before Buddhist were finished.

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Eleventh cave has 3 floors. First only 2 floors were known, but later the third was discovered. 15 000 monks were carving those caves for three generations.

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Out of twelve Buddhist caves only the tenth one was a temple. Others were monasteries - the places were monks lived.

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The cool and shade of caves is rather welcomed in hot Indian climate.

3 x bigger picture in new window Radharaman in one of cave temple.
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Big prasadam hall (dinning room) is so large that a car can drive inside.

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The caves are opened from sunrise to sunset, only Kailash is open from 9 to 17.

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There are mostly sculptures of Varahadeva, Laksmi and Shiva in Hindu temples.

3 x bigger picture in new window Some other Vishnu forms are to be found in other caves - for instance in Dasavatara cave.
3 x bigger picture in new window The cave temple number 16 is Kailash, were a big Shiva-linga (form of Lord Shiva) is worshiped. It is the biggest building carved in a stone in the whole world.
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200 000 t of stone was carved and transferred during the construction. By estimate it is a work of six or seven generations of monks and it took at least 150 years to complete it. It is two times bigger than Parthenon of Athens - 81 m long, 47 m wide a 33 m high.

3 x bigger picture in new window The temple was carved from top to bottom, so no scaffolding was needed.
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On southern side is a remarkable statue of Ravana under the feet of Lord Shiva. Ravana wanted to move Kailash mountain and shake it and obviously didn't seceded. In other places one can see scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana.

3 x bigger picture in new window Live size stone statues of elephants.
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Stone temple of Kailash is considered one of the Indian wonders and resemble pyramids by its monumental appearance.

3 x bigger picture in new window One cannot call them „buildings” in true sense of the word since they were not „build”, but „carved” into rock.
3 x bigger picture in new window The whole complex is 2 km long.
 

English texts, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:
www.spiritualguides.net

Photographs from his travels:
Radha-raman das

 


Published:
July 2001
 
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