The Jain Temple at Ellora

The Jain Temple at Ellora was Jesse’s site of study.  At this point in the trip we were all used to being mobbed by people at every site we visited.  Immediately this site was different.  The small entryway hid from view the large temple carved out temple behind it. Once we walked through the gate, however, we entered a space surrounded by four high cliff walls, and defined by a large temple in the center.  We were alone.  We all scattered running around to see all the different parts of the temple.  The carvings were as beautiful as any that we saw and it was very peaceful.  After a few minutes some of us noticed that there were stairs around the back of the temple.  Naturally, we climbed up.  It wasn’t a perfect stairway, and at the end you had to shimmy across a small ledge to reach the roof, but we made it.  On the roof there was another room built into the ascending roof over part of temple.  There was a small door about three feet high.  Inside we found another small temple, directly over the main one beneath our feet.  This struck me as funny at first, but then I realized why I liked it; the designers of the temple wanted you to interact with it.  It was not just a temple to be visited and worshipped.  It was more like a holy play ground to be interacted with and climbed on.  This realization gave me a better appreciation for the site as a whole and highlighted an already beautiful temple.

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