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Ellora Caves - Aurangabad  

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Ellora Caves, known locally as Verul, is an archeological site which is situated at about thirty-km from Aurangabad, in the Maharashtra state. It was built by the Rashtrakuta Dynasty and is designated as a World Heritage Site.

The site has thirty-four caves or structures which were excavated vertically out of the Charanandri Hills. They comprise of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples and monasteries which are believed to be built between the 5th and the 10th–Century.

The close proximity of these diverse religions demonstrates the religion harmony that was existent during that era of Indian History. The whole site extends over more than two-km in the wall of a high-basalt cliff. Prominent Hindu temples include The Kailasanatha (cave 16), which is a centerpiece in Ellora.

It was designed as to resemble Mount Kailash, which is the dwelling of Lord Shiva. Carved in a single rock, it is a multi-storied complex. Dashavatara Cave (cave 15) depicts the ten reincarnations of Vishnu. Buddhist caves mainly consist of monasteries.

Chaitya Hall (cave 10) is a well-known structure amongst these. Jain caves are not as large as compared to other structures here, but they are exceptionally detailed. Chhota Kailash (cave 30) is a prominent cave here.

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The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of Aurangabad. Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, and Viharas, or... more monasteries, Hindu and Jai temples. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5 th and 11 th century AD, the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29). The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Interestingly, Ellora, unlike the site of Ajanta, was never 'rediscovered'. Known as Verul in ancient times, it has continuously attracted pilgrims through the centuries to the present day. Ellora has been designed as a World Heritage Site, to be preserved as an artistic legacy that will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come.
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