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Ajanta Ellora

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The Architectural Extravaganza  |   Travellers Factoid    |   Tours

Ajant ElloraThe famous Ajanta and Ellora are cave shrines, cut out of rock by hand. Some of the most outstanding specimens of ancient Indian architectural heritage is found in the 34 caves at Ellora and the 29 caves at Ajanta. John Smith, a British Army Officer, accidentally in 1819, discovered these caves during his hunting expedition.

“ For a dreamer like me, Ajanta and Ellora caves were a maverick joint where I could have spent days in isolation. The caves ozzes creativity and can impress almost any body on earth. Only thing which I think is important is that they need to be promoted well.” said Alanis Phillpes.

The Architectural Extravaganza
Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta group of caves, lying deep within the Sahyadri hills, above the Waghora river depict the story of Buddhism (200-650 AD). The temples are set into the rocky sides of a crescent shaped gorge. Considered as the nerve - centers of the Buddhist cultural movement and seats of learning, the 29 caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas. Images of nymphs and princesses are also beautifully cut out of stone. The excavations span a period of about six centuries. The earlier monuments include both chaitya, the halls divided into a central nave and side aisles by two rows of columns and monasteries. These caves are believed to be built during 2nd to 1st centuries BC.

Maharastra State Tourism Development Corporation in combination with Larsen and Turbo is giving making a identical caves at Fardpur and road heading towards Ellora respectively. Since the original Ajanta and Ellora Caves are located in low land , not many people are able to visit them. The government came up with a plan of carving identical Ajanta and Ellora Caves with Multimedia thereby giving Virtual reality effect. The estimated money for Ajanta caves is 50 Crores Rupee while 30 Crores Ellora. The Ajanta Caves work has already begun while Ellora work is likely to begin shortly.

A natural pool fed by a waterfall adds to the beauty of the gorge. Built to offer the Buddhist monks an undisturbed place to meditate the noticeable thing is that they lie within the major trade routes.
Ajant Ellora
The identities of the artists responsible for the execution of the Ajanta Caves are still not known not only due to their extraordinary faith in the Buddha, but also for the characteristic of Indian traditions of anonymity and abnegation of self. Even today, these cave temples at Ajanta provide the most complete illustration of Buddhist tradition.

Ellora Caves
The 34 caves, 30 km from Aurangabad, are the finest specimens of cave - temple architecture. The sculptures represent three faiths-Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Carved out in the period 350 AD to 700 AD, the south- caves are Buddhist (12), the centre-caves (17) are dedicated to Hinduism, and north-caves (5) are Jain.

Housing images from the Buddhist faiths, the sculptures here convey nobility, grace and serenity. With a seated Buddha placed in the stupa, the Vishvakarma cave is both a Chaitya and a Vihara. It's two - storied, sporting a colourful pageant of dwarfs, dancing and playing music.

Although built in the same time as that of the Ajanta caves the chaityas and viharas of Ellora are architecturally and sculpturally different, drawing elements from the Vajrayana School of Buddhism. Thus, the sculptures deal more with magic and mysticism. The dwarapalas, the Boddhisattavas and their consorts have a robust earthiness about them. '

The architectural skill is more pivotal in Ellora's success as an art form rather than the sculptural aesthetics. The thin plain edifice of Tin Tala with unadorned pillars and the sculptured panels are only on the inner walls. Sculptured out of human hands it is hard to believe that the floors and the ceiling are so smooth and leveled. The Tin Tala dates back to the Rashtrakuta period in the middle of the 8th century.

Within the most not so remarkable sculptures, the magnificence of Kailasa Temple or Cave 16 is surprising. It is a superb structure with both architectural richness and artistic beauty.The Chhota Kailasa (Cave 30), a miniaturized version of the stupendous Hindu Kailasa Temple and the Indrasabha (Cave 32) are the most noteworthy among other caves. The Indrasabha temple and the huge Dhwajsthamba are othe attractions in Chhota Kailash temple that strikes the mind. The extraordinary fact at Ellora is that all that richness of architectural majesty was fashioned by human hand, without any special machinery, more than a millenium ago.

Ajant Ellora
Cherishable Memories
Ajanta and Ellora are Buddhist caves and hence are precious for those who believe in Buddhism. Scroll through the Ajanta and Ellora caves and you would love them.

“ The painting and the sculptures which were made on these walls were just phenomenal. It is difficult to belive that early man were so particular about the design they created. Minblowing” ended Alanis Phillpes.

Travellers Factoid
By Air : Just 10 kms east of city, Aurangabad is connected with a daily flights to Mumbai and Delhi via Udaipur and Jaipur. From airport you can take auto rickshaw to the nearest airport.
By Train : The closest junctions is Manmad which is 113 kms northwest of Aurnagabad. There are majorly two trains which connect Mumbai and Hyderabad to Aurangabad.
By Road : State Roadways buses and private bus companies connect Aurangabad from Pune (5 hours), Nashik (5 hours) Indore.

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