Table of contents:

Ellora: unique temples carved into the rock
Ellora: unique temples carved into the rock

India is a wonderful and amazing country, striking with its extraordinary history, majestic palaces and ancient temples, which are of particular value for world culture. The ancient Hindu civilization left a rich heritage that amazes seasoned contemporaries, because without exception, all the objects that have survived to this day are stunning masterpieces of architecture, such as the world-famous Ellora cave complex.

1. The uniqueness of the village of Ellora

The rock temples of Ellora are a man-made wonder of India

The small village of Ellora, located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, has become famous throughout the world thanks to its majestic temples carved out of stone. Being the standard of religious architecture of the most ancient civilizations, they still impress with their scale. From VI to IX centuries. n. e. on its territory, cave temples were carved from rocks of fantastic beauty, from which they breathe a special energy and even mysticism.

Ellora cave complex is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (India)

Whatever legends circulate about participation in the construction of higher powers, the surviving masterpieces only confirm the genius of the ancestors, who mastered the art of accurate mathematical calculations and were able to work miracles by hand.

Kailash Temple - an incredible man-made wonder of India (Ellora)

Remarkable:The nature itself has contributed to the fact that the village turns into a special place. The mountain range, in which the man-made cave temples were created, is crossed from west to east by four rivers at once. The largest river, Elaganga, forms a gigantic waterfall during the rainy season, enhancing the mystical effect of these places.

2. Tolerance towards representatives of other faiths

34 temples for followers of three religions at once (Ellora, India) were created in the rock for 2 km

Considering the fact that several trade routes converged in this area at once, along which merchants and travelers from all over the world followed, it is not surprising that the complex consists of temples belonging to 3 religions at once - Buddhist, Jain and Hindu. The very first began to build Buddhist temples, although the largest number is intended for followers of Hindu philosophy and religion.

3. Buddhist temples

Buddhist temples in the Ellora caves (India)

Construction began with Buddhist halls, which are located in the southern part of the cave complex. In total, 12 Buddhist monasteries (viharas) were created, in which monks lived, meditations, teachings and religious rituals were carried out.

The main decoration of all these cult objects was the sculptures of the Buddha, always looking to the east, towards the rising sun, although the poses could be different. Some temple objects were decorated with filigree carvings, exquisite statues, massive columns and beautiful high reliefs reflecting scenes from Indian mythology.

Ellora Buddhist Caves (India)

Among the large number of monasteries located under the arches of the rock, Rameshwara is especially impressive, which has become one of the most visited tourist sites. In addition to Buddha statues, columns and the finest carvings, a large number of fantastic creatures await in the main hall of pilgrims, who literally step on those entering, causing genuine fear. And this is not an exaggeration.

To create a special atmosphere, the ancient architects were able to masterfully convey the plasticity and volume in the sculptures of ancient gods and mythical animals, creating the illusion of movement of all these characters.

Buddha statues and filigree carvings adorn Buddhist monasteries deep in the rocks (Ellora, India)

But Tin-Thal is considered the largest underground temple not only in Ellora, but throughout India. It is also the main religious building, consisting of three floors and located at the depth of a 20-meter well.

4. Hindu temples of Ellora

The 29-meter main Hindu temple rises above the rocky complex (Kailasanatha, India)

There are 17 Hindu cult halls in the Ellora temple complex.Each of these unusual shrines is beautiful in its own way, but the most grandiose and impressive is the Kailasanatha temple. Its construction technology is still driving some specialists from various industries into a dead end, who are asking questions about how in ancient times they were able to cut down a temple structure in a monolithic rock, a kind of similarity to Mount Kailash - the abode of Shiva in the Himalayas.

The uniqueness of the Kailasanatha Temple is that it was cut from a monolithic rock from top to bottom (Ellora, India)

The main mystery of the construction is that the gigantic sanctuary, whose height reaches 33 m, with a width and length of 36 and 61 m, respectively, was carved from top to bottom. The most difficult work was carried out for more than 150 years, and over such a long period about 400 thousand tons of rock were extracted.

The most fantastic Hindu temple on the planet rests on statues of elephants and lions (Kailasanatha, India)

Particularly impressive is the design of the rectangular courtyard of the temple, surrounded by rows of statues of deities located in carved niches, above which is the main sanctuary with a multi-column hall for worship. It is noteworthy that all the elements of the religious building are covered with skillful stone carving, and the temple itself is located on giant statues of lions and elephants, which are a kind of base.

Each element of the unique temple is decorated with carvings and high reliefs (Ellora, India)

Initially, the fantastic structure, which is both a cave and a ground temple, was covered with white plaster, which emphasized its beauty against the background of dark rocks. At the same time, all the three-dimensional elements of the decorations created visual effects, especially noticeable at sunset.

As the sun went down, numerous shadows appeared, giving the illusion of movement of the stone-carved deities.

5. Jain caves

Jain traditions of rigor combined with sophisticated decor (Ellora, India)

The Jain caves are considered the "youngest". Despite the fact that there are only 5 of them, they are worthy of their famous "neighbors". They are also of particular interest to researchers and pilgrims who rush to their shrines.

But tourists practically do not come here, because ascetic temples are located 2 km from the main architectural complex. The unique carvings and artful images of Mahavir, the founder of the Jain religion and philosophy, have been perfectly preserved to this day; there are also statues of two more revered mentors and philosophers of the Jains - Gomateshwar and Parshvanatha.

A lotus flower carved from stone on the ceiling of a Jain temple (Ellora, India)

Unfortunately, only one temple was fully completed; in addition to divine sculptures, you can see giant stone lotuses and formidable lions with huge elephants. But this is where the decoration ends, there is no splendor of Hindu shrines with an abundance of sculptures and carvings on every centimeter of rock. For some unknown reason, the rest of the temples were never completed.

Popular by topic