Tag Archives: rock-cut architecture in India

Ageless chisel: The rock-cut caves of Ellora

Cross-section of a frieze in Cave 16, or the Kailasa Temple
Cross-section of a frieze in Cave 16, or the Kailasa Temple

The Ellora caves, locally known as ‘Verul Leni’ and located on the Aurangabad-Chalisgaon road, were, like the Ajanta caves,carved out of the terraces that were formed as a result of the great movements in the crust of the earth that began millions of years ago. A part of land that had broken off the Australian landmass drifted north and began to push against the Laurasian plate about 65 million years ago, giving birth to the Himalayas at one end and triggering hectic volcanic activity at the point of contact. The resulting waves of lava flow solidified into layers, or terraces, spread across hundreds of miles. Both Ajanta and Ellora are located on this massive lava flow known as the Deccan trap. Incidentally, the Deccan trap is full of man-made caves. Maha-rashtra alone has about 1,200 big or small caves or big and small cave clusters and close to 75 per cent of them (about 900) are Buddhist caves. Continue reading Ageless chisel: The rock-cut caves of Ellora