Ellora caves: Part I

A striking portrait of Parvati at the Kailashnath temple.

There are so many engaging ideas for interior design, that I couldn’t stop shooting these corners.

Another ornate wall inside the many rooms you can rest your weary self.

Another view of a stairway that leads to the upper floor. I love the mystery of high contrast.

The staircase entrance that leads to one of the prayer/rest rooms on the ground floor. Slippers can be treacherous in this zone!

A depiction of Parvati, (I think), but in this dimly lit cave it was the only subject I was able to shoot in natural light.

The Buddhist caves that lie ahead of the Kailashnath temple perhaps provided the inspiration for the architects of the Pallava Kingdom. and

One of the large alcoves on the ground floor was replete with depictions of Shiva and Parvati holding court, here you can see Lord Ganesha among some others who seemed to have brought a demon to justice. He lies mutilated under the statue to the extreme left.

Detail of a wall on the outside that suggests these were painted too.

Another view of the mini temples on the first floor. To think that this temple was carved out of a single rock starting from the top, makes me wonder how many artisans must be at work to carry out such detail.

Between two columns are gigantic sculptures depicting various stories of Shiva and his reincarnations. Seen here is a sadhu and his henchmen who were making vociferous claims about Aurangzeb’s attempts at destroying and mutilating the structure.

 

 

 

The sculpted mural of Shiva at the entrance, a strong Buddhist influence in the styling.
On the floor above the main entrance to the temple enclosure, you can take a walk around and discover smaller mini temples built out of the same rock. Amazing!

On the floor above the main entrance to the temple enclosure, you can take a walk around and discover smaller mini temples built out of the same rock. Amazing!

Buddha and the Bodhisattvas in the meditation room which will baffle and fascinate the best acoustics engineers in the world. I was happy to catch the shifting shaft of light that came in through a small window designed to produce dramatic and focussed effects on the sculpture to aid meditation.

There are possibly a million posts already on the web on this topic. The Ellora caves in Aurangabad, are a UNESCO world heritage site after all, an amazing feat of human ingenuity, skill and faith. I have seen caves in Cappadocia which are not half as ornate as these. Considering these were executed more than 5000 years ago makes them all that more fascinating. The scale, the craft and the graphic content of the architecture is grand, contemporary and timeless. These pictures are an essay and tribute to a marvel that deserves more attention.

The large Durbar where devotees artisans and citizens met to sing devotional songs is my guess.s

" Kailashnath Temple, Ellora"

A view from one of the alcoves cut into the rock at the entrance to the temple.

An ante room for resting attached to a larger structure that was perhaps the main durbar.

An ante-room for resting attached to a larger structure that was perhaps the main durbar.

A view of the dining room that housed the monks, the frescos are burnt.

A view of the dining room that housed the monks, the frescos are burnt.

About shabnamphoto

I'm a graphic artist with a passion for photography. I like to tell a story with my pictures. Sometimes a picture may speak on its own and at other times it may need an explanation. I'm intrigued by the ordinariness of life and enjoy documenting my life in the light and shadow of what surrounds me. Be it people, landscape, flowers, architecture or birds, the camera helps me see what I wouldn't with my naked eye.
This entry was posted in Documentary, Fine art, Photo essay, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Ellora caves: Part I

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  15. Blood-Ink-Diary says:

    You are such an intense, passionate and brilliant photographer! My Goodness, this photo-essay is beyond mesmerising — I soooo would like to visit these stunning caves. Wah buhut khoob! I am seriously telling you – National Geographic should witness your talents and assign you some project – you are an inspiration dear Shabnam! I completely love these photos – feeling so serene looking at them – thank you for sharing. Jeetey rahein dost.

    Like

    • shabnamphoto says:

      Thank you dear Shaheen, wish you were the commissioning editor at NatGeo. Am thrilled to hear your kind and wonderful remarks…with your good wishes inshallah I will shoot some essays for this great publication, someday before I die!

      Like

  16. noirciplume says:

    Beautiful! Would love to visit there one day!

    Like

  17. Rupa Gulab says:

    Lovely, Shabs. Thanks for the tour.

    Like

  18. SG says:

    Evocative, inviting and sensuous. Wonderful photo-logue.

    Like

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