I was planning to write a lengthy blog on Ellora. But it turned out to be too big a place to cover in one post. While I always knew what I was going to see, I was still rendered somewhat speechless and awestruck by the grandeur of these caves. So, I am converting it into a multipart series divided according to the major caves.
There are 34 caves of various shapes and size in the complex and this series starts with the Cave no. 16 because contrary to what you may think, the Cave no.1 is not the first one you encounter here. The Cave no. 16 is the largest cave of Ellora and it is also the first one you come across when you enter through the main gate.
It is essentially a Hindu Cave built during the Rashtrakuta period in the eighth century. It is called Kailashnath Temple as it was designed to replicate Mount Kailasha and it is actually a monumental achievement. Multiple stories connected with stairs, larger than life statues, intricate artwork, and an effort to create a microcosm of a celestial abode of Lord Shiva, everything should be judged by the fact that they were cut out of one single piece of rock. Various statues depict myths and legends related to Lord Shiva as well as other popular figures from Hindu mythology including the Dasavataras and the characters from popular epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Words are not enough to describe the Cave No. 16. So, have a look at the images, although even they failed in this regard as I mostly struggled with the lighting. The sun is normally unforgiving in this region while the interiors of the caves are a bit too dark. Anyways, have a look at the images and judge yourself. I will be back with the remaining caves in a day or two.