(21) The Buddha image at Ellora Cave Temple was so shocking that it electrified my whole body! I highly recommend this as one of the best spots in India!

Elora. Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

Travels to Buddhist sites in India and Sri Lanka (21)
The Buddha image at the Ellora Cave Temple was so shocking that it electrified my whole body! I highly recommend it as one of the best spots in India!

Now, we came from Mumbai to Aurangabad airport.

It is only an hour's flight from Mumbai to here.

I came here to visit Ajanta and Ellora, which are famous for their Buddhist ruins.

It was a real treat for me to see these sites, which are the highlights of Buddhist monuments in South India.

As Ajanta and Ellora are often mentioned in combination, Ajanta should be introduced first, but due to my travel schedule, I decided to visit Ellora first rather than Ajanta.

The Elora site is less than 40 km from Aurangabad city. It takes about one hour by car. Surprisingly close.

On the outskirts of Aurangabad, huge banyan trees grew along the road, a landscape different from both North India and Mumbai.

As you pass over those mountains, the ruins of Ellora approach. It was in these mountains that the ruins of Ellora were carved.

As we approached the mountain, the greenery became more colorful. Hmmm...was this once a place where tigers would come out?

Finally, we arrived near the entrance gate of the Ellora ruins. The trip took about one hour as scheduled.

The small gate on the left is the entrance. And in the middle, slightly visible through a gap in the trees, is already the Ellora Grottoes. Unlike Elephanta Island, there is no need to climb the mountain.(in Japanese history)(18) Impressed by the huge statue of Shiva at the Elephanta Grottoes off the coast of Mumbai! A white-hot example of Hindu sculpture!"See article on)

This is a schematic of the entire Ellora area. As you can see, Ellora is called the Grotto Cluster, and there are numerous caves carved into the rock. These temples were literally carved out of the rocky mountain in front of us.

Interestingly, the Ellora Grottoes are the only place in India where Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cave temples are all located in one place. It is said that this is the only place like this in India.

As shown in the above diagram, Cave 1 begins on the right (south), followed by Buddhist caves up to Cave 12, Hindu caves (Caves 13 to 29), and Jain caves (Caves 30 to 34).

Buddhist caves began to be carved here around the 6th century, followed by Hindu caves. The construction of the Kailasanatha Temple, the most famous Hindu cave in Ellora (Cave 16), is said to have begun around the 8th century.

Kailasa Temple at Ellora GrottoesWikipedia.

By this time, Buddhism was clearly less powerful than it had been in its heyday. Here in Ellora, magnificent Hindu caves were actively carved, as if to show the shift in religious power. Incidentally, the Jain caves are said to date from the 8th to 10th centuries.

However, Musashi Tachikawa and Jigo Omura co-authoredAjanta and Ellora: Rock Temples and Murals of the Deccan Plateau, IndiaAccording to the "Mere Old Man," these three religions were not completely separate and disconnected, but interacted with each other. They lived in the same place at the same time. In other words, here Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism were not adversaries, but coexisted.

After passing through the entrance gate, a grassy plaza opens up in front of you. Directly in front of it is the famous Kailasanatha Temple, Cave 16. From a distance, I was a little disappointed to see the temple, but as I got closer to the temple, I could not help but be astonished by the full view of the temple. I couldn't help but be shocked. I could not help but be shocked. I will introduce the Kailasanatha Temple in the next article, so please stay tuned.

Saving the Kailasanatha temple for later, I decided to visit the Buddhist caves on the south side first.

As you can see, you can clearly see that the rock pile was carved from the side to create the rooms on the cave.

Let's finally look at the Buddhist caves.

What do you think? Just from the outside, one would be amazed at this magnificent grotto. How much labor must have been involved? All of these grottoes were carved out of the rocky hillside by hand. This is not a natural cave that has been modified.

The first place I entered was Cave 5. This was used as an auditorium. It is quite spacious.

Like the Elephanta Grottoes, the inside is cool and comfortable. In the hot and humid climate of southern India, this space must have been a great help for meditation practice.

And above all, this space where the scene was so quiet. As soon as I entered, I could not help but let out a surprised moan. There had been Buddhist practitioners here in the past. They had practiced Buddhism here. I could certainly feel the residue, or rather, the spiritual atmosphere of the place.

I have never been so excited to be in India. This space radiated such a unique pressure.

And at the end of the small entrance in the back center of the auditorium, there was a carved Buddha image. It is rare to see a Buddha image sitting on a chair.

The light from outside shines into this dark room, allowing the Buddha images to be seen. This is probably the reason why this grotto was built.

Looking back toward the entrance of the Grottoes from just around this Buddha image, the picture looks like this.

And what is interesting about this grotto is that many private rooms have been built on both sides of this auditorium.

Sorry for the dark and blurry photo, but it is truly dark beyond this point. No light reaches us at all.

I went in here with no intention. I dared not even turn on my camera or phone light. I decided to explore this space with the naked eye only.

Step out into the darkness. Near the entrance, I could still see faintly. But as I proceeded deeper into the room, complete darkness enveloped me.

It's amazing. I really can't see anything. I can't even see my hands outstretched in front of me. The sensation of my arms is there, but I don't know where my hands are, which is a strange sensation. It is as if my arms have disappeared into another world.

We groped our way through the wall by hand. This place was unexpectedly narrow. The depth was probably less than two meters. The width was about 3 meters.

It is said that this place was used by monks for meditation practice. It is large enough for one person to stay here.

Is this what darkness is like when you can't see anything? I savored this space as I put my hand on the back wall. This is the kind of place where our ancestors used to meditate. I gradually became unsure whether my eyes were closed or open. But at the same time, I felt a strange sense of peace. Touching this wall, I feel a sense of calm and security.

And sound resonates well inside this private room.

I tried chanting sutra here. The echoing voice was really pleasant.

By the time the sutra was over, my eyes had become accustomed and I could gradually see my surroundings. I see, this is how people get used to the darkness.

This experience of darkness is still strongly etched in my memory. I realized that true darkness is a special sensory experience for humans, both physically and mentally. True darkness erases our everyday physical senses and our grasp of space. This must have been of great help to meditation practitioners who were striving for the ultimate in mental concentration.

After this, I visited Cave 1 and Cave 2 in that order, but it is Cave 10 that I would like to introduce to you.

It is clearly different from the grottoes I have seen so far. It has the atmosphere of a temple.

This is no wonder, as what we have seen so far is only a monastery (vihara), a space for monks to live and practice Buddhism.

However, Cave 10 is a shrine called a chaitiya, which means it is like the main hall of a temple where a stupa is worshipped. In other words, this place is like the main hall of a temple where a stupa is worshipped.

Take off your shoes at the entrance and enter the temple barefoot.

The cool stone floor is also comfortable.

(5) Feel the theme park of the gods at the Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar - an immersive experience into the Hindu worldview."As I mentioned in my article "The Japanese Way of Life," I feel that taking off one's shoes and going barefoot stimulates the senses and sharpens one's sensibilities. I strongly believe that there are physical and psychological effects that go beyond mere etiquette.

Then, as you can see in the photo on the right, I peeked inside the hall through the entrance. I could not hide my excitement at the other world I saw beyond this entrance.

And the moment I entered the hall, I felt a chirping sound! It really happened! It is often said that an electric current runs through the body, and that is exactly what happened! It was as if I had been struck by lightning! It was as if I had been struck by lightning!

I will never forget the impact it had on me. I have encountered many different monuments and works of art in my life, but this is definitely the pinnacle of them all.

What in the world is this place...?

The first is this ceiling!

I was taken aback by this space.

The deeply carved arched lines look like ribs. The height and depth of the space envelops me and brings a strange calmness. Yes, I feel as if I am inside my body.

And at the back of this space sits a stupa and a seated statue of Buddha.

As was the case in Cave 5, I am not accustomed to seeing Buddha sitting on a chair. Is this an expression unique to this region?

The ceiling is wonderful, but so is this Buddha image.

I was riveted by this soft expression, this relaxed, graceful figure.

And although I did not realize it at the time I was there, as I write this article, I have come to an epiphany.

The face of this Buddha image is somewhat similar to that of Shiva in the Elephanta Grottoes. *(18) Impressed by the huge statue of Shiva at the Elephanta Grottoes off the coast of Mumbai! A white-hot example of Hindu sculpture!"(See article in)

Of course, they do not match perfectly, but there is a certain affinity in their soft expressions.

Both the Elephanta Grottoes and Cave 10 were built at about the same time. Moreover, since both caves are located in the Mumbai area, it is possible that the same group of sculptors of the same school worked on them. One's imagination can only expand.

Nevertheless, this Buddha image radiates a sense of calmness and gentleness. Being in this space, I feel at home. It is not a tense feeling of tension.

Oh, I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it is....

I came back here again after seeing all the grottoes. I was so sad to say goodbye. Even through three times in India, this place is by far the best. Definitely one of the best I have traveled in the world. It was such a wonderful space. I recommend this place by far. If you go to India, you should definitely go here. I apologize for the Taj Mahal, but I promise you that you will be more than satisfied here. (As I will say in a later article, I just can't get enough of the Taj Mahal.)

The last Buddhist grotto group I visited was Cave 12.

This place was built to accommodate monks.

We came to the front of the monastery. As you can see, it is a three-story structure. How could they have carved such a beautiful structure?

The front of the corridor has a Buddha statue. Every corner of one's life can be accompanied by a Buddha image. What a luxury!

Entering the hall from the corridor, one finds a large space like the Cave No. 5 that one saw earlier, with more private rooms. Monks probably used to sleep here.

Some of the rooms were used for prayer and meditation rather than for lodging. This was probably a place of worship, and was truly spectacular with its many Buddhist statues.

Looking out from the third floor. You can clearly see that this monastery was carved out of the rock from above. The space in front of us was originally a rocky hill. Cave 16, Kailasanatha Temple, which will be introduced in the next article, is a Hindu grotto built in this style. However, its scale is truly extraordinary. It is an insane structure.

Let's continue our look at that Kailasanatha temple. Ellora is truly a marvelous site!

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