Imagine being so powerfully determined in your devotion to your god that when confronted with a vertical stone mountain, your first thought is: ‘I must carve this into a cave temple with my bare hands’. Centuries ago, Indian monks and artists would take years creating incredible rock-cut architecture manually out of sandstone, cliffs, and rock formations. After this amazing feat was achieved, they would then intricately design the walls with carvings and murals, and fill the interior with statues. India’s cave temples show early traces of human life and culture and the importance of Hinduism and Buddhism in the country’s history.
1. Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
The 30 caves of Ellora were carved out of a vertical face of the Charanandri hills in the 5th century AD. The cave temples are devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism – demonstrating the religious harmony of the time. The Buddhist caves were primarily designated as monasteries, the Hindu caves boast paintings of the various gods, and the Jain caves feature intricately painted ceilings.