Cave 16 of the Kailasanatha Temple, viewed from the top of the rock
|Criteria||i, iii, vi|
|Designated||1983 (7th session)|
Ellora (\e-ˈlȯr-ə\, IAST: Vērūḷ), in Maharashtra, India, is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments, and artwork, dating from the 600-1000 CE period. Cave 16 of Ellora, in particular, features the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world, the Kailasha temple, a chariot shaped monument dedicated to Shiva. The Kailasha temple excavation also features the gods, goddesses, and mythologies found in Vaishnavism, Shaktism as well as relief panels summarizing the two major Hindu Epics.
There are over 100 caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs in the Charanandri Hills, 34 of which are open to public. These consist of 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves, with each group representing the deities and mythologies that were prevalent in the 1st millennium CE, as well as the monasteries of each respective religion. They were built in proximity to one another and illustrate the religious harmony prevalent in ancient India. All of the Ellora monuments were built during Hindu dynasties such as the Rashtrakuta dynasty, who constructed part of the Hindu & Buddhist caves, and the Yadava dynasty, who constructed a number of the Jain caves. Funding for the construction of the monuments was provided by royals, traders and the wealthy of the region.
Although the caves served as monasteries, temples and a rest stop for pilgrims, its location on an ancient South Asian trade route also made it an important commercial center in the Deccan region. It is 29 kilometres (18 miles) north-west to the city of Aurangabad, and about 300 kilometres (190 miles) east-northeast from Mumbai. Today, the Ellora Caves, along with the nearby Ajanta Caves, are a major tourist attraction in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra and a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Location
- 3 Chronology
- 4 The Buddhist monuments: Caves 1-12
- 5 The Hindu monuments: Caves 13-29
- 6 The Jain monuments: Caves 30-34
- 7 Visitors, desecration and damage
- 8 Ellora inscriptions
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Ellora, also called Verul or Elura, is the short form of the ancient name Elapura. The older form of the name has been found in ancient references such as the Baroda inscription of 812 CE which mentions "the greatness of this edifice" and that "this great edifice was built on a hill by Krishnaraja at Elapura". The edifice in the inscription being the Kailasa temple (Cave 16). In the Indian tradition, each cave is named and has a suffix Guha (Sanskrit), Lena or Leni (Marathi), which means caves.
The Ellora caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra. They are about 29 kilometres (18 miles) northwest from the city of Aurangabad, 300 kilometres (190 miles) east-northeast from Mumbai, and about 100 kilometres (62 miles) west from the Ajanta Caves.
Ellora occupies a relatively flat rocky region of the Western Ghats. Ancient volcanic activity in this area created multilayered basalt formations, known as the Deccan Traps. The volcanic activity that formed the west-facing cliff, which houses the Ellora caves, occurred during the Cretaceous period. The resulting vertical face made access to many layers of rock formations easier, enabling architects to pick basalt with finer grains for more detailed sculpting.
The construction at Ellora has been studied since British colonial rule. However, the overlapping styles between the Buddhist, Hindu and Jaina caves has made it difficult to establish agreement concerning the chronology of their construction. The disputes generally concern: one, whether the Buddhist or Hindu caves were carved first and, two, the relative dating of caves of a particular tradition. The broad consensus that has emerged is based on comparing the carving styles at the Ellora caves to other cave temples in the Deccan region that have been dated, textual records of various dynasties, and epigraphical evidence found at various archaeological sites near Ellora and elsewhere in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Geri Hockfield Malandra, and other scholars[who?], has stated that the Ellora caves had three important building periods: an early Hindu period (~550 to 600 CE), a Buddhist phase (~600 to 730 CE) and a later Hindu, and Jain, phase (~730 to 950 CE).
The earliest Ellora caves may have been built during the Traikutakas and Vakataka dynasties; the latter being known for sponsoring the Ajanta caves. However, it is considered likely that some of the earliest Ellora caves, such as Cave 29 (Hindu), were built by the Shiva-inspired Kalachuri dynasty, while the Buddhist caves were built by the Chalukya dynasty. The later Hindu caves and early Jaina caves were built by the Rashtrakuta dynasty, while the last Jaina caves were built by the Yadava dynasty, which had also sponsored other Jaina cave temples.
The Buddhist monuments: Caves 1-12
These caves are located on the southern side of the Ellora caves, and were built either between 630-700 CE, or 600-730 CE. It was initially thought that the Buddhist caves were the earliest structures that were created between the fifth and eighth centuries, with caves 1-5 in the first phase (400-600) and 6-12 in the later phase (650-750), but modern scholarship now considers the construction of Hindu caves to have been before the Buddhist caves. The earliest Buddhist cave is Cave 6, then 5, 2, 3, 5 (right wing), 4, 7, 8, 10 and 9, with caves 11 and 12, also known as Do Thal and Tin Thal respectively, being the last.
Eleven out of twelve Buddhist caves consist of viharas, or monasteries with prayer halls: large, multi-storeyed buildings carved into the mountain face, including living quarters, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and other rooms. The monastery caves have shrines including carvings of Gautama Buddha, bodhisattvas and saints. In some of these caves, sculptors have endeavoured to give the stone the look of wood.
Caves 5, 10, 11 and 12 are architecturally important Buddhist caves. Cave 5 is unique among the Ellora caves as it was designed as a hall with a pair of parallel refectory benches in the center and a Buddha statue in the rear. This cave, and Cave 11 of the Kanheri Caves, are the only two such Buddhist caves in India. Caves 1 through 9 are all monasteries while Cave 10, the Vīśvakarmā Cave, is a major Buddhist prayer hall.
Caves 11 and 12 are three-storied Mahayana monastery caves with idols, mandalas carved into the walls, and numerous goddesses and Bodhisattva-related iconography belonging to the Vajrayana Buddhism. These are compelling evidence to suggest that Vajrayana and Tantra ideas of Buddhism were well established in South Asia by the 8th century CE.
The Vishvakarma Cave
Notable among the Buddhist caves is Cave 10, a chaitya worship hall called the 'Vishvakarma cave' (literally the cave of one who accomplishes everything, or the architect of the gods), built around 650 CE. It is also known as the "Carpenter's Cave", because the rock has been given a finish that has the appearance of wooden beams. Beyond its multi-storeyed entry is a cathedral-like stupa hall also known as chaitya-griha (prayer house). At the heart of this cave is a 15-foot statue of Buddha seated in a preaching pose.
Cave 10 combines a vihara with a chapel-like worship hall that had eight subsidiary cells, four in the back wall and four in the right wall, as well as portico in the front. It is the only dedicated chaitya griha amongst the Buddhist group of Ellora caves and is constructed along similar lines to Caves 19 and 26 of Ajanta. Cave 10 also features a gavaksha, or chandrashala, arched window and a side connection to Cave 9 of Ellora.
The main hall of the Visvakarma cave is apsidal in plan and is divided into a central nave and side aisles by 28 octagonal columns with plain bracket capitals. In the apsidal end of the chaitya hall is a stupa on the face of which a colossal high seated Buddha in vyakhyana mudra (teaching posture). A large Bodhi tree is carved at his back. The hall has a vaulted roof in which ribs (known as triforium) have been carved in the rock imitating the wooden ones. The friezes above the pillars are Naga queens, and the extensive relief artwork shows characters as entertainers, dancers and musicians.
The front of the prayer hall is a rock-cut court, which is entered through a flight of steps. The triple entrance of the Cave has a carved facade decorated with numerous Indian motifs such as apsaras and meditating monks. On either side of the upper level are pillared porticos with small rooms in their back walls. The pillared verandah of the chaitya has a small shrine at either end and a single cell in the far end of the back wall. The corridor columns have massive square-shaped shafts and ghata-pallava (vase and foliage) capitals. The various levels of Cave 10 also feature the male and female deity idols, some with four or six arms, carved in the Pala dynasty style found in eastern regions of India, such as Maitreya, Tara, Avalokitesvara (Vajradhamma), Manjusri, Bhrkuti and Mahamayuri. Some southern Indian influences can also be found in various works in this cave.
The Hindu monuments: Caves 13-29
The Hindu caves were constructed during the Kalachuris period, from the mid 6th century to the end of the 8th century in two phases. Nine cave temples were excavated early in the 6th century, followed by a further four caves (caves 17–29). Work first commenced in Caves 28, 27 and 19 then Caves 29 and 21. With work underway in the latter two caves, work began on Caves 20 and 26, such that they were being excavated concurrently. Caves 17 and 28 were the last ones to be started.
The later caves, such as 14, 15 and 16, were constructed during the Rashtrakuta period, some being dated to between the 8th to 10th centuries. Work first began in Caves 14 and 15 with Cave 16,the world's largest monolith, being the last of the three to be constructed. These caves were completed in the 8th-century with the support of king Krishna I.
Early Hindu temples: Dhumar Lena, Cave 29
Construction in the early Hindu caves commenced before any of the Buddhist or Jaina caves. These early caves were generally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, although the iconography suggests that the artisans gave other gods and goddesses of Hinduism prominent and equal reverence. A common feature of these cave temples was a rock cut linga-yoni within the core of the shrine with each being surrounded by a space for circumambulation (parikrama).
Cave 29, also called Dhumar Lena, is one of earliest excavations in Ellora and among the largest. Early Hindu temple building in the cave centered around the "Vale Ganga", a natural waterfall that was integrated into the monument. The waterfall is visible from a rock carved balcony to the south and have been described as "falling over great Shiva's brow", particularly during monsoon season. The carvings in this cave are larger than life size but, according to author Dhavalikar, they are "corpulent, stumpy with disproportionate limbs" compared to those found in other Ellora caves.
Rameshwar temple, Cave 21
Cave 21, also called Rameshwar Lena, is another early excavation in Ellora whose construction has been credited to the Kalachuri dynasty. The cave was completed prior to the ascension of Rashtrakuta dynasty which went on to expand the caves at Ellora
Although the cave features similar works to those in other Ellora caves, it also has a number of unique pieces, such as those depicting the story of goddess Parvati's pursuit of Shiva. Carvings depicting Parvati and Shiva at leisure, Parvati's wedding to Shiva, Shiva dancing and Kartikeya (Skanda) have been found in other caves. The cave also features a large display of the Sapta Matrika, the seven mother goddesses of the Shakti tradition of Hinduism, flanked on either side by Ganesha and Shiva. Inside the temple are other important Shakti tradition goddesses such as the Durga. The entrance to Cave 21 is flanked by large sculptures of the goddesses Ganga and Yamuna representing the two major Himalayan rivers and their significance to the Indian culture.
The cave is laid out symmetrically according to the mandapa square principle and has embedded geometric patterns repeated throughout the cave. The Shiva linga at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is equidistant from the major statues of goddesses Ganga and Yamuna, with all three set in an equilateral triangle. According to Carmel Berkson, this layout likely symbolizes the Brahman–Prakriti relationship, the interdependence of the masculine and the feminine energies, that is central to Hindu theology.
The Kailaśa temple: Cave 16
The Kailasha temple, inspired by Mount Kailasha, is dedicated to Shiva. It is modeled along similar lines to other Hindu temples with a gateway, an assembly hall, a multi-storey main temple surrounded by numerous shrines laid out according to the square principle, an integrated space for circumambulation, a garbha-grihya (sanctum sanctorum) wherein resides the linga-yoni, and a spire shaped like mount Kailash – all of which have been carved out a single rock. Other shrines carved from the same rock are dedicated to Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, the ten avatars of Vishnu, the Vedic gods and goddesses such as Indra, Agni, Vayu, Surya and Usha, as well as non-Vedic deities such as Ganesha, Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati), Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu), Annapurna, Durga and others. The basement level of the temple features numerous Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism works; a notable set of carvings include the twelve episodes from the childhood of Krishna, an important element of Vaishnavism.
The structure is a freestanding, multi-level temple complex covering an area twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens. It is estimated that the artists removed three million cubic feet of stone, weighing approximately 200,000 tonnes, to excavate the temple.
The construction of the temple has been attributed to the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. 756-773 CE), but elements of Pallava architecture have also been noted. The dimensions of the courtyard are 82 meters by 46 meters at the base, and 30 meters high (280 x 160 x 106 feet). The entrance features a low gopuram. The central shrine housing the lingam features a flat-roofed mandapa supported by 16 pillars, and a Dravidian shikhara. An image of Shiva's mount Nandi (the sacred bull) stands on a porch in front of the temple. Two of the walls in the main temple house rows of carvings depicting the Mahabharata, along the north side, and the Ramayana on the south side.
The Kailasha temple is considered a highly notable example of temple construction from the 1st millennium Indian history, and was called, by Carmel Berkson, "a wonder of the world" among rock-cut monuments.
The Dashavatara: Cave 15
The Dashavatara temple, or Cave 15, is another significant excavation that was completed sometime after Cave 14 (Ravan ki Khai, Hindu). Cave 15 has cells and a layout plan that are similar to Buddhist Caves 11 and 12, which suggests this cave was intended to be a Buddhist cave; however, the presence of non Buddhist features, such as a Nrtya Mandapa (an Indian classical dance pavilion) at its entrance, indicated otherwise. According to James Harle, Hindu images have been found in Buddhist Cave 11, while many Hindu deities have been incorporated in Buddhist caves of the region. This overlap in disparate designs between Buddhist and Hindu caves may be due to the sites being worked on by the same architects and workers, or perhaps a planned Buddhist cave was adapted into a Hindu monument.
According to Geri Malandra, all the Buddhist caves at Ellora were an intrusion in a place that was already an established Brahmanical Tirtha (Hindu pilgrimage site), and not the other way around. Further, given that both the Hindu and Buddhist caves were predominantly anonymous, and no donative inscriptions have been discovered for Buddhist Ellora caves other than those of Hindu dynasties that built them, the original intent and nature of these cave temples is speculative.
The Hindu temple housed in Cave 15 has an open court with a free-standing monolithic mandapa at the middle and a two-storeyed excavated temple at the rear. Large sculptural panels between the wall columns on the upper floor illustrate a wide range of themes, which include the ten avatars of Vishnu. An inscription of Dantidurga, important to establishing the chronology of the temple, is on the back wall of the front mandapa. According to Coomaraswamy, the finest relief of this cave is the one depicting the death of Hiranyakashipu, where Vishnu in man-lion (Narasimha) form, emerges from a pillar to lay a fatal hand upon the shoulder of Hiranyakashipu. Other reliefs in Cave 15 include the Gangadhara, marriage of Shiva and Parvati, Tripurantika of Shaktism tradition, Markendeya, Garuda, aspects of life, Nandi in mandapa, dancing Shiva, Andhakasura, Govardhanadhari, Gajendravarada and others. The panels are arranged in dyads, which states Carmel Berkson, reinforce each other by displaying "cooperative but also antagonistic energy" with a mutuality of power transference.
Other Hindu caves
Other notable Hindu caves are the Ravan ki Khai (Cave 14) and the Nilkantha (Cave 22), both of which house numerous sculptures, Cave 25 in particular features a carving of Surya in its ceiling.
The Jain monuments: Caves 30-34
At the north end of Ellora are the five Jain caves belonging to the Digambara sect, which were excavated in the ninth and early tenth centuries. These caves are smaller than the Buddhist and Hindu caves but nonetheless feature highly detailed carvings. They, and the later era Hindu caves, were built at a similar time and both share architectural and devotional ideas such as a pillared veranda, symmetric mandapa and puja (worship). However, unlike the Hindu temples, emphasis is placed on the depiction of the twenty four Jinas (spiritual conquerors who have gained liberation from the endless cycle of rebirths). In addition to these Jinas, the works at the Jain temples include carvings of gods and goddesses, yaksa (male nature deity), yaksi (female nature deity) and human devotees prevalent in Jaina mythology of 1st millennium CE.
According to Jose Pereira, the five caves were actually 33 distinct excavations, which he has labelled as J1 to J33. Pareira uses numerous sources including epigraphy, palaeography, typology, style, mechanics and historic texts to conclude that the Jain caves at Ellora likely began in late 8th-century, with construction and excavation activity extending beyond the 10th century and into the 13th century before coming to a halt with the eruption of the Islamic Sultanate wars. This is evidenced by votive inscriptions dated to 1235 CE, where the donor states to have "converted Charanadri into a holy tirtha" for Jains by gifting the excavation of lordly Jinas.
Particularly important Jain shrines are the Chhota Kailash (cave 30, 14 excavations), the Indra Sabha (cave 32, 13 excavations) and the Jagannath Sabha (cave 33, 4 excavations); cave 31 is an unfinished four-pillared hall, and shrine. Cave 34 is a small cave, which can be accessed through an opening in the left side of Cave 33.
The Jain caves contain some of the earliest Samavasarana images among its devotional carvings. The Samavasarana is of particular importance to Jains being the hall where the Tirthankara preaches after attaining Kevala Jnana (liberating omniscience). Another interesting feature found in these caves is the pairing of Jinas, specifically Jina Parsvanatha and Kevalin Bahubali, which appear 19 times. Other artwork of significance include those of deities Sarasvati, Sri, Saudharmendra, Sarvanubhuti, Gomukha, Ambika, Cakresvari, Padmavati, Ksetrapala and Hanuman.
Cave 31, consisting of four pillars, a small shrine a number of carvings, was not completed. Carvings of Parshvanatha, guarded by yaksha Dharanendra with his 7 hoods, and Gommateshvara were made into the left and right walls of the hall, respectively, while within the shrine resides an idol of Vardhamana Mahavir Swami. The idol is seated in a padmasan position on a lion-throne and a chakra is seen in the middle panel of the throne. The figure of yaksha Matanga on an elephant is on the left side of shrine while one of yakshiSiddhaiki seated in savya-lalitasana on a lion with a child on her lap is on the right.
The Indra Sabha: Cave 32
The Indra Sabha (Cave 32), excavated in the 9th century, is a two-storey cave with a monolithic shrine in its court. 19th-century historians confused all the Jain Yaksas for alternate images of Indra that were found in Buddhist and Hindu artworks, thus leading to the temple being given the misnomer "Indra Sabha". Indra is an important deity in all three major religions, but in Jainism he is of particular importance as not only is he one of 64 deities who reign over the heavens, he is, specifically, the king of the first Jain heaven, Saudharmakalpa, and the chief architect of the celestial assembly hall according to the Adipurana, a Jain holy text. As a result, cave 32, much like other Jaina caves is home to a 
The Indra Sabha Jain temple is historically significant as it contains evidence, in the form of layered deposits and textual records, of active worship inside by the Jain community. In particular, rituals were known to have been held in the upper level, where the artwork may have played a central role.
As with many caves in Ellora, numerous carvings adorn the temple, such as those of the lotus flower on the ceiling. On the upper level of the shrine, excavated at the rear of the court, is an image of Ambika, the yakshini of Neminath, seated on her lion under a mango tree, laden with fruit. The center of the shrine presents Sarvatobhadra, where four Tirthankaras of Jainism – Rshibha (1st), Neminatha (22nd), Parsvanatha (23rd) and Mahavira (24th) are aligned to the cardinal directions, forming a place of worship for devotees.
Chotta Kailasha: Cave 30
The Chotta Kailasha, or the little Kailasha, is so named due to the similarity of the carvings to those in the Kailasha temple. This temple was likely built in the early 9th century, concurrent with the construction of the lower level of the Indra Sabha, some decades after the completion of the Kailasha Temple. It features two larger-than-life size reliefs of dancing Indra, one with 8 arms and another with 12, both adorned with ornaments and a crown; Indra's arms are shown in various mudra similar to the dancing Shiva artworks found in nearby Hindu caves. However, the iconography has several differences that indicate this cave shows a dancing Indra and not a dancing Shiva. The Indra panels at the entrance also feature other deities, celestials, musicians and dancers.
Art historian Lisa Owen has raised questions concerning whether music and dance were part of 9th century Jainism considering given that Jain theology focuses on meditative asceticism. Rajan, for example, has proposed that Cave 30 may have originally been a Hindu monument that was later converted into a Jaina temple. However, Owen suggests that the celebration-filled artwork in this temple is better understood as part of the Samavasarana doctrine in Jainism.
The overlap between Jain and Hindu mythologies has caused confusion, given Book Three of the Hindu Mahabharata describes Indra's abode as one filled with a variety of heroes, courtesans and artisans, within a paradise-like setting. This imagery is depicted throughout Cave 30, similar to the Hindu caves, to set the context of the temple. However, the symbolism closer to the centre of the temple is more aligned with the core ideas of Jainism; a greater prevalence of meditating images and Jinas – the place where the Jain devotee would perform his or her ritual abhisheka (worship).
The Jagannatha Sabha: Cave 33
The Jagannatha Sabha (Cave 33) is the second largest Jain cave at Ellora and dates to the 9th century according to the inscriptions on the pillars. It is a two storeyed cave with twelve massive pillars and elephant heads projecting towards a porch, all carved from a single rock. The hall has two heavy square pillars in front, four in the middle area, and a pillared interior square principle hall with fluted shafts, all intricately carved with capitals, ridges and brackets. Inside the major idols are of Parshvanatha and Mahavira, the last two Tirthankaras in Jainism.
This and other Jain caves excavations show intricate detailing. Many of the structures had rich paintings in the ceilings – fragments of which are still visible.
Visitors, desecration and damage
The Ellora caves were never forgotten. There have been several written records, in the centuries that followed after their excavation, that indicate that these caves were visited regularly. Ellora was frequented by Buddhist monks in the 9th and 10th centuries. It is mentioned, somewhat incorrectly, by the Baghdad resident Al-Mas‘udi of the 10th century CE, as "Aladra", a site of a great temple, a place of Indian pilgrimage, one with thousands of cells where devotees live, for which an entire city is devoted. In 1352 CE, the records of Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah mention he camping at the site. The others are by Firishta, Thevenot (1633–67), Niccolao Manucci (1653-1708), Charles Warre Malet (1794), and Seely (1824). Some of these accounts suggest the importance of Ellora, but include ahistorical claims. For example, the Venetian traveller Niccolao Manucci's description of Ellora caves based on interviewing Mughal officials claims, "many say that they were executed by the ancient Chinese".
The Lalitacaritra, a Marathi text dated to late 13th century, is the first report that suggests that active use of Ellora stopped in the 13th century. Islamic court records suggest that Deogiri capital of the Yadava dynasty, which is about 10 kilometers from Ellora, had come under sustained military raids and attacks at this time, and was conquered by the Delhi Sultanate in 1294 CE. According to José Pareira, there is evidence that artist work in Jain caves at Ellora flourished under the Yadava dynasty ruler named Singhana (~1200-1247 CE), and these caves were in use by Jaina visitors and worshippers in the 13th-century, but all Jain religious activity ceased in Ellora after the region came under Islamic rulers in late 13th century.
The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments at Ellora show substantial selective damage particularly to the idols, while the intricate carvings on pillars and of natural objects on the walls are intact. The desecration of idols and images is traced to the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries when this region of the Deccan peninsula came under iconoclasm of Muslim armies. Such devastation by faithful Muslims was, states Geri Malandra, from the offense of "the graphic, anthropomorphic imagery of Hindu and Buddhist shrines". Muslim historians of the Islamic Sultanates period of Indian history mention Ellora, as they describe widespread damage and fanatical destruction of idols and artwork of the region, but some Muslims of this era expressed their concern against such wanton damage and "deplored it as a violation of beauty", according to Carl Ernst.
Several inscriptions at Ellora range from 6th century onwards. The best known of them is an inscription of Rashtrakuta Dantidurga (c. 753-57 A.D.) on the back wall of the front mandapa of Cave 15, which mentions that he offered prayers at this temple. Jain cave Jagannatha Sabha has 3 inscriptions that give the names of monks and donors. A Parshvanath temple on the hill has an 11th-century inscription that gives the name of the donor from Vardhanapura.
The Great Kailasa temple (Cave 16) is attributed to Krishna I (c. 757-83 A.D.), the successor and uncle of Dantidurga. A copper plate inscription found in Baroda, Gujarat narrates that a great edifice was built on a hill by Krishnaraja at Elapura (Ellora), as follows:
...was caused to be constructed a temple on the hill at Elapura, of wonderful structure, on seeing which the best of immortals who move in celestial cars, struck with astonishment, say "This temple of Shiva is self-existent; in a thing made by art such beauty is not seen (...). The architect builder of which (...) was himself suddenly struck with astonishment, saying "Oh, how was it that I built it!"— Karkaraja II copper inscription, 812 CE
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ellora.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ellora Caves.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ellora.|
- Ellora Caves in UNESCO List
- Layout, floor plan and description of each Ellora cave, Deepanjana and Arno Klein
- Photographs of Ellora, Getty Images
- Ellora Caves, Encyclopædia Britannica