The area of Ellora has a total of 34 caves, the oldest of which are Buddhist and built between AD 600-800; the Hindu caves were built between AD 600-900; and the Jain AD 800-1000.
But the grand poobah one of them all is the Kailasa Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The LP describes it as the world’s largest monolithic sculpture that took 150 years to build; it is twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens and half as high again. “Kailasa is an engineering marvel that was executed straight from the head with zero margin for error.”
The details in the rock carvings are mesmerizing, and the longer I stared at a given sculpture, the more I found! And just think, it was 150 years of construction based on someone’s vision, without modern blueprints or modern technology… With frickin primitive tools, dude.
We were lucky enough to befriend Akshay, a young guy with an extensive knowledge of religious Indian symbolism, and he was all too happy to answer all our questions.
There was an interesting difference between the Buddhist and Hindu temples, with the former depicting contemplation and peace, and the latter dramatic scenes of war and lust.
Xiker and I had a discussion about which was more of a wondrous feat: the rock carvings of Ellora or the frescoes of Ajanta.