Differences at Ellora

In our class, we had only focused on the Kailasanatha Temple at the Ellora site. I wasn’t aware that there were actually many more caves at that site. Just like Ajanta, there were caves dedicated to multiple religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. What I found extremely interesting was the fact that the art and architecture of some caves could be used by different religions. I was made aware of this by Gabby’s research and presentation. Cave 15, was originally an unfinished Buddhist cave that was later repurposed for Hindu worship. Another interesting thing about this cave was that many of the reliefs told the same stories as the ones present in the Kailasanatha Temple. However, these carvings were slightly different which lead to multiple interpretations of the story being told. For example, a common story depicted in Hindu temples and caves is about Shiva suppressing the demon Ravana under the mountain. At the Kailasanatha temple, Parvati seems to be clinging to Shiva in fear while a maid at the side runs away. At Cave 15 though, Ravana is sticking his left leg out and seems as if he is putting all his strength into breaking out. Despite this, Parvati looks much more relaxed and is simply resting her hand on Shiva’s leg. It was interesting to see the same story depicted in different ways even at the same site.

Ravana trapped under Mount Kailash at Ellora Kailasanatha Temple 
Ravana Shaking Mount Kailash at Ellora Cave 15

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