Ellora Caves represent some of the biggest rock cut monastic-temple complexes all over the entire world. They are locally known as "VerulLeni". The great Kailasa is the single largest monolithic excavation all over the world, which Ellora is famous for. The caves are situated out of the volcanic basaltic formation of Maharashtra, which is known as the "Deccan Trap", with brownish red coloured channels through which the volcanic lava once flowed.Built between the period of 5th and 11th century, Ellora(the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture) has in total 34 caves that are excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri Hills, The caves are divided into Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves, which include rock-cut temples, viharas and mathas, built between the 5th and the 10th century.
Built from 5th to 7th century, were the Buddhist caves, consisting of viharas and monasteries. Some of the monastery caves have shrines including carvings of Gautama Buddha, Bodhisattvas and saints.Constructed between the middle of sixth century to the end of the eighth century were the Hindu caves, representing a different style of creative vision and execution skills. Some of them were of such complexity that they required several generations of planning and co-ordination to complete. The most important of them is Cave No. 16, called Kailasanatha, the unrivalled masterpiece of Ellora. The abode of Lord Shiva, the cave looks like a multi-storied, freestanding temple complex. This cave has been carved out of one single rock and covers an area double the size of Parthenon in Athens.
Belonging to the Digambara sect, the Jain caves were built in the ninth and tenth centuries. These caves reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy and tradition along with a reflection of strict sense of asceticism. The best time to visit is during the Ellora Festival of Classical Dance and Music in March.