Kailasa temple / Ellora Caves

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Kailasa temple

The Kailasha or Kailashanatha temple (map) is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora Caves, *Maharashtra. The Kailasa temple (Cave 16) is the largest of the 34 Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the *Ellora Caves, ranging for over two kilometres (1.2 mi) along the sloping basalt cliff at the site.

There are over 100 caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs in the Charanandri Hills, 34 of which are open to public. These consist of 17 Hindu (caves 13–29), 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves, each group representing deities and mythologies prevalent in the 1st millennium CE, as well as monasteries of each respective religion.

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The caves are 30 km northwest of central *Aurangabad (map), and 330 km northeast of *Mumbai.

The Kailasha temple (Cave 16, map), inspired by Mount Kailasha, is dedicated to Shiva. The structure is a freestanding, multi-level temple complex covering an area twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens. It is estimated that the artists removed three million cubic feet of stone, weighing approximately 200,000 tonnes, to excavate the temple.

The construction of the temple has been attributed to the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. 756–773 CE), but elements of Pallava architecture have also been noted. The dimensions of the courtyard are 82 meters by 46 meters at the base, and 30 meters high (280 × 160 × 106 feet).

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 BUS >   MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) Red Buses are available at regular intervals to Ellora. The frequency is good, and they are extremely safe and fairly comfortable, though not very luxurious. MSRTC also operates semi-luxury Asiad buses to here but the frequency is not very good. All these buses depart from and arrive at the Aurangabad Central Bus Stand (CBS, map). There is no need for advance booking and tickets are issued on the bus itself.

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While you can’t take a cross-country bus ride across India, buses are the second most-popular way of travelling across states and the only cheap way of reaching many places not on the rail network (e.g. Dharamsala).

 RAIL >   irctc.co.in >> Railways were introduced in India in 1853, more than one and half a century ago by the British, and today India boasts of the biggest network of railway lines in the world, and the rail system is very efficient, if rarely on schedule. It is one of the safest ways of travel in India. *Rail travel in India

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