|For unknown reasons, Ajanta was abandoned in the seventh century when the artist monks moved to Ellora, 66 km away. Ellora first appears to the visitors as an irregular ridge of rockrising vertically from the ground. Unlike Ajanta, access to Ellora is very easy, but like Ajanta its true splendour lies concealed within. The rock-cut architecture of Ellora's charm are sometimes underappreciated because of Ajanta's fame; the visitors coming to Ellora after experiencing Ajanta's enhancements, is sometimes satisfied with so much rock-cut architecture, but that is doing Ellora a great injustice, for here, in this outcrop of basalt rock is the culmination of this form.Ellora represents some three hundred years of great experiments carried out by different faiths with their very different iconography and structural compulsions.
34 cave temples of Ellora can be divided into three groups and roughly three periods: Buddhist, Hindu and Jain. Only 12 of the 34 caves are Buddhist, but even these incorporate Hindu and Jain theme, demostrating the gradual decline of Buddhism. The Buddhists first came to Ellora sometime in the early seventh century AD and began excavating in the most accessible place, which was the southern tip of rock face. The Buddhist caves all belong to Mahayana phase of the religion and contain of the religion and contain some of the most impressive images of Buddha. The ceilings of the caves were carved and often painted with geometric designs, while walls and pillars carried narrative sculpture and murals pertaining to the life of the Buddha. Sculptured images in the caves at Ellora are of Hindu, Jainand Buddhist deities and their consorts, auspicious symbols of apsaras, tree nymphs, attendant of gods, animal motif, tree and plants.
The first three caves, all dating to the seventh century are lofty, pillared halls with carved Buddha images fashioned on a large scale. Cave number 4, a vihara is two storeyed, but in rather poor condition today. The pillars here have rather intresting pot and foliage motifs.
How To reach There :-
By Air: Aurangabad is the nearest airport.
By Rail: Aurangabad is the nearest railhead on South Central Railway. Mumbai - Aurangabad(via Manmad) 388 km (via Pune) - 400 km. Also Jalgaon (59 km from Aurangabad).
By Road: Connected by Road.