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The Ellora Caves and temples


Ellora Caves is a site about 30 km from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Personally I am not that keen on visiting caves, but the Ellora complex is different. There Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples all  cut out of the surrounding rocks. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves are of course UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best way to visit the site is by taxi from Aurangabad (just over 200 km from Pune, in, roughly, west India). It is very easy to spend a day or if you like more in the complex. There's so much to see.

Ellora Caves

The complex is extensive but there are some temples that are so stunning, one can hardly believe they were actually 1000 years ago made.

Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves
Cave 16 of the cave complex

Although there are many masterpieces, one stands above all. Cave 16 represents Mount Kailash, the home of Lord Shiva. It's a multi storey complex but it was carved out of one single rock.

It's even more impressive when you realize it's even double the size of the Pantheon in Athens, Greece. The building started in the 8th century.

Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves complex Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves complex
Cave 16

Although cave 16 might marvel out the other caves, it's certainly not the only magnificent temple. Cave 10 looks much like a cathedral.

Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves complex Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves complex
Left
: Cave 10, it looks like a cathedral!
Right: Roof of Cave 16

Caves 10 and 16 will keep you busy for a few hours. Should you want to see the other caves too, the best is to come back the next day. It can be very overwhelming.

Cave 16 of the Ellora Caves complex
Ellora Caves: Cave 16

I visited the caves 10 and 16 in the morning with the idea to continue in the afternoon. In the afternoon I went to several of the other caves. My diary read: "After cave 10 and 16 the other caves are nice. It's like visiting Angkor Wat followed by the lesser impressive temples, I can't really enjoy them as I am so full of caves 10 and 16".

It was not fair. Cave 21 for example had some awesome carving, and so did some of the Jain temples.

Ellora Caves Ellora Caves
Left
: Carvings in cave 29
Right: One of the Jain caves

Most people come to the Ellora Caves in a day trip from Aurangabad. However, opposite of the Ellora Caves, there's a hotel (Hotel Kailas) with rooms for around US $20. Should you want to visit more days (recommended), staying here is a good option. Otherwise, Aurangabad is nearby. Find more hotels in Aurangabad with Tripdavisor or Agoda.com.

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The temples of Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho belong not only to UNESCO's World Heritage, they are also some of the most beautiful and vivid ancient examples of sandstone carving.

temples of Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho


Hampi Karnataka

Aurangabad and surrounding might have the spectacular cave temples, Hampi has most certainly one of the most extensive temple cities.

Much is still in use and much is preserved. I loved it as much as I loved Aurgangabad

Hampi Karnataka

Hampi Karnataka


Ajanta Cabes

The Ajanta Caves, 80 km north of the Ellora caves are another must visit. Here you find some of the finish art Indian Buddhism has ever produced.

Ajanta Caves