Wonders of the World

Ellora Caves


The caves are an impressive complex of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples near the ancient Indian Village of Ellora, India. The UNESCO designated Ellora a World Heritage site in 1983.

There are 34 caves in all: 12 Buddhist caves (200 BC to AD 600), 17 Hindu caves (AD 500 to 900) and 5 Jain caves (AD 800 to 1000). The Hindu caves are the most spectacualr in design and the Buddhist caves contain the simplest decoration.

The most extraordinary of the cave temples is kailasa (caves 16). This temple complex was carved downward and is therefore largely exposed to sunlight unlike the other caves which were carved horizontally into the rock face. It contains elaborately carved structures and halls with stairs, doorways, windows, and numerous sculptures. Other decorations include a representation of the Hindu god Vishnu transformed into a man-lion and battling with a demon.