Dating back to the 6th century, exquisite and impressive structures of cave temples of Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains were constructed in the Aurangabad- Chalisgaon highway, located at a distance of 30km from Aurangabad; Verul Leni also known as Ellora Caves. Ellora, the UNESCO World Heritage Site inspires everyone with its rock-hewn temple architects around the world. To be surprising enough, this place is visited the most during monsoons because of the lush environs and the pleasant weather making the look astounding.
When the Ajanta Caves were abandoned and when Buddism was declining and a new religion, Hinduism had taken its vibe, the construction of Ellora Caves had started that was carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri Hills somewhere between the 6th and the 10th century. It was during the 700 AD when Shaivism was at a peak, the Chalukya Kings had built the Kailasa Temple in the Ellora which was further switched to the Digambara sect of the Jains where the last period of construction began in the tenth century. So, Ellora has been in the hands of three different religions; Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
What to see here-
There are a total of 34 caves, amongst which 12 are Buddhist caves that are called as Vishwakarma caves, 17 Hindu caves, and 5 Jain caves. Except for the tenth cave, all the other caves are used as a place for communal rituals, study, and meditation.
Of the 34 caves, the most prominent ones are;
Cave2- This cave is a large chamber supported by 12 pillars lined with the sculptures of Buddhas. The doorway is bounded by a muscular Padmapani and a bejeweled Maitreya who is known as the Future Buddha.
Cave5- Known as the Maharwada Cave as it was used by the local tribes of Mahar as shelter during monsoon.
Cave11- known as the Do Thal or Two Floors where one can get to see two floorings with the shrine of Buddha and sculptures of Durga and Ganesh, indicating that this cave was later transformed by the Hindus.
Cave15- is called as the Das Avatara Cave as one can see the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu on its walls.
Cave16- This is not a cave but a temple carved from a solid rock that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was constructed to represent Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.
Thus, with so natural and ancient, this place has to be in your travel bucket.