The Ellora Caves of India

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The Ellora Caves, one of the most extensive temple/monastic sites in the world, is located 30 km north-northwest of Aurangabad, India, near the village of Ellora. Followers of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism built this complex between approximately the 6th and 10th centuries A.D. There are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and five Jain caves. The fact that these groups built their structures so close to one another, and sometimes at the same time, is proof of the religious harmony that existed during this time in Indian history.

Builders cut the Ellora Caves out of the face of the Charanandri hills, a volcanic basaltic formation. They began the work around 500 A.D. The Buddhist caves were carved out from approximately 500-750 A.D. The Hindu caves were carved from approximately 600-870 A.D., while the Jain caves were carved from approximately 800-1000 A.D. The temples and monasteries were carved next to each other in the wall of the basalt cliff. There are 34 caves in all numbered chronologically, beginning with the oldest Buddhist cave at the southern end of the site.

The Buddhist...
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