Forspoken: Ellora Caves

Forspoken: Ellora Caves

Marvels of the past have turned into mysteries of the present, which continue to remain unsolved. A number of such mysteries fills the list and the Monolithic caves of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India is one such an unsolved mystery.


Nestled in Maharashtra, the Ellora caves is the largest rock-cut Hindu temple cave complex in the world and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is said to have been built by Rashtrakuta King Krishna I and the construction dates back to 600 AD to 1000 AD and consists of 34 monasteries and temples, which include 17 Hindu, 12 Buddhist and 5 Jain caves extending over more than 2km. Along with the intricate architecture, there is a number of carvings which resembles figures associated with three religions. These carvings at Ellora were at one time immaculately painted. The rick was covered with a lime plater which was painted.

The Ellora caves gets high attraction not merely for being the largest of its kind in the world, but it bears witness to three great religions: Buddhism, Brahminism and Jainism. This illustrates the spirit of tolerance, which permitted these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their communities in a single place. Along with these exceptional facts comes the unsolved mysteries and various other theories associated with this site. According to research, the main temple, the Kailasa temple was built using the vertical excavation method. The builders supposedly began from the top of the rock and worked their way downwards to create this splendid temple complex. However, there is developing and an ongoing speculation regarding its construction process. Archeologists have determined that over a time of 18 years, the builders scooped out over 400,000 tons of rock. That means, if they had a work force, and they worked for 12 hours each day, they would still have to remove five tons of rock every hour. With the limitations to the technology at that time period, only chisels and hammers were available, this makes this a more tightening mystery. Even if it is proved possible, the residual of the carved-out rock pieces was never found. Archeologists have found no traces of such large chunks of rocks and sand around the temple premises. The questions remain, where are the carved- out rocks and what sort of technology it was that evaporated the residual rocks?

At certain places of this monolithic complex, certain entrances to undiscovered tunnels can be found. Many speculate that these tunnels may lead to a vast underground city, but the size of these tunnels give rise to the questions was it humans that were residing in these or was it some other species? The size of the tunnels gradually decreases up to an extent where an average human isn’t able to continue further into the caves. Another thing that proves the existence of life underground is that there are a number of holes drilled from the ground that act as ventilation shafts leading to the underground.
Even though the theory regarding the existence of underground extra-terrestrial life is still unconfirmed, certain sculpture on the rock provides proof to some extent. There is a number of carvings which depicts ‘Nagas’ and humanoids existing underground while religious figures are depicted to exist on the surface. These beings are depicted smaller in size when compared to the beings living on the surface. Could these smaller beings have used the narrow tunnels which are too narrow for human beings to access?
Many western researchers claim that this might have been a proof of alien intervention but many Brahmins state that several Hindu scriptures mention an existence of certain powers which were capable of creating such wonders.

The questions remain…who built it for whom and how ? With this the Ellora caves gets added to the lists of unsolved mysterious landmarks around the globe.

– Rtr Gethmi Adikari

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