The Ellora Caves are made up of 34 temples and monasteries that were dug by monks into the walls of a cliff in India, created between 600 and 1000 A.D. There are different cave complexes that are dedicated to Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, showing that there was a good deal of tolerance in India thousands of years ago, more than there is today in many parts of the world.
Visitors can visit these ancient caves and get a look at how these three different groups practiced within close proximity to each other while maintaining their unique beliefs.
The oldest caves appear to be the Buddhist caves, which are made up of one large temple along with smaller monasteries. One of the caves is even a three-story building that was made by people who smoothed the cave out and built the different levels. The upper level gives visitors a view of the ceiling, loving couples depicted on the walls, and a large image of Buddha on a window. The smaller Buddhist caves are used for studying and worshiping, while the biggest cave is used as an assembling area.
from the roof down to the floor
Seventeen caves make up the Hindu area and are completely different from the Buddhist and Jain caves. Hindu’s built their caves from the roof down to the floor. The uses of the Hindu caves include being used as a granary, temples, and monasteries. The most notable Hindu cave is the Kailasa Temple.
Kailasa Temple, the largest Hindu cave, is famous for being the biggest monolithic sculpture in the world. It took over 7,000 people to build and about 150 years to finish. It was built by Krishna I, the Rashtrakuta king, who then dedicated the cave to Shiva, one of the Hindu gods. This temple is twice as big as the Parthenon and is decorated with detailed scenes of Hindu beliefs.
The Jain caves are only made up of four caves, but those four are very large and elaborately decorated. On the walls, there are lotus flowers depicted along with other detailed carvings, and visitors can see some interesting sculptures in this area.