Dadu Aur MadakEllora
had the same good luck finding a place right in Ellora as we had in
Ajanta. This was important because it allowed us to see the caves on
the same day, and getting south was seeming more urgent if we were to
see all the things we wanted to. It was hard to believe that at this
point we had been here for over four months. As I actually sit writing
these pages we now have slightly more than a month left on our
six-month visa. Still, in spite of how far I am behind on this log, to
do justice to Ellora it must be two pages--one the site in general, and
one on Temple Sixteen. The remarkable thing about Ellora is that it
fell under successive influences with the earliest temples being
Buddhist, followed by a staggering Hindu influence, and finally a few
temples that were Jain. The Jain temples overlap somewhat in time with
the end of the Hindu period. But as I mentioned the most amazing is the
complex known as Temple Sixteen. It is actually several buildings, many
of several stories, hewn from the solid rock. It is so massive it is
difficult to take it all in. It is said that 7000 workers toiled for
150 years to carve this masterpiece. Lonely Planet says it is the
world's largest monolithic sculpture.
of the earlier Buddhist caves at Ellora seem a little more primitive
than those at Ajanta, even though they were begun more than a hundred
years after Ajanta had already went into decline. But over a four
hundred year period there is an astounding variety of influences.
style and detail of these interior columns are just one of the details
that have changed over this time frame.
34 caves consist of 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and 5 Jain. Some like the
one at right above are multilevel structures with vast passages.
image above of Kali the destroyer is particularly fearsome, while the
goddess below left seems almost serene despite the thousands of hands
that have polished parts of her anatomy. Below right, architectural
detail seems to play a larger role in some of the Jain temples.
of the Jain sites are amazing in their detail, while others take on a
other-worldly quality in the striated rock. But hitting the next button
will take you to the gem of Ellora. I only wish my camera could have