12 Spectacular Rock-Cut Shrines for Your Next Visit to India

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12 Spectacular Rock-Cut Shrines for Your Next Visit to India

India attracts numerous visitors every year due to its world-famous rich cultural heritage and history. You can experience it in the rock-cut temples, ancient structures, and other architectural wonders of India. 

Here are the most majestic rock-cut shrines in India that you must visit for a lifetime experience.

1. Ajanta Caves

 Ajanta Caves       These are a group of thirty rock-cut Buddhist monasteries and temples. Further, they date from the 2nd century BCE (Before Common Era) to 480 CE (Common Era). To visit these, you will have to find flights to Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Once you reach Mumbai, you need to visit the Aurangabad district. You can find some rich collections of ancient art here. Also, you can find quite a few engravings and excerpts from the Jataka Tales on the walls of the caves.

Moreover, these caves depict the incredible attainment of engineering. You can confirm it by seeing some of the halls in these caves. Also, these houses many old Indian paintings. These belong to the 2nd century BC. Furthermore, you can see some beautiful Indian cave paintings in Cave 17.

2. Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves

Just like the Ajanta Caves, these caves are also a perfect example of the incredible engineering skills. Also, they are an ideal depiction of artistic crafts. You are sure to find numerous sculptures, inscriptions, and drawings here. Besides, these emanate rich philosophical and aesthetic messages.

Further, these are a group of thirty-four temples and monasteries. Out of these, 12 are Buddhist monasteries, 17 are Hindu shrines, and 5 are Jain temples. 

Also, do not miss out on the Kailasanatha. This temple is a fantastic creation. It is a free-standing structure and has complex structural planning. Further, this temple resembles the sacred Mount Kailash. 

3. Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves

Just like the above two, you can visit these on your trip to Mumbai. You can find them on Elephanta Island near it. These are a network of brilliantly carved caves.

The Elephanta Caves are basically two groups of caves. The Buddhist group has two caves. Furthermore, the Hindu group includes five caves. Also, you can find astonishing rock-cut stone statues of Lord Shiva here.

In addition to this, you can find the famous Trimurti in the Great Cave. This statue is 6.1m High. Also, it shows the three faces of Lord Shiva. 

4. Karla Caves

Karla Caves

If you are looking for some other oldest rock-cut temples near Mumbai, this is among them too. Although these caves are ancient, the sculptures and ornamentation here are far from primitive. Instead, they are a perfect example of ancient art. 

Also, you can find a rock-cut sanctuary here. It is the largest one in India. Further, you can find wooden detailing on the ceilings too. The original sacred Karla Cave which appeared first was a natural cave. However, now you can discover human-made caves too. Also, they depict the rich architectural skills. 

5. Pancha Rathas

Pancha Rathas

This monumental Complex in Tamil Nadu is home to several rathas (chariots), temples, and historical monuments. Therefore, it now holds a place in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. You can find this temple in Mahabalipuram. This is the Pallava’s ancient temple city. 

This amazing rock-cut temple complex has five monolith rock-cut temples. Further, they were all cut using a single rock. Also, they get their name after Draupadi and the Pandavas.

Furthermore, there are three structures of animals as well. These are – elephant, lion, and Nandi bull. The Nandi bull’s statue is incomplete. Still, people from every nook and corner of the world come to visit this place. Make sure you do it too!

6. Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves

These are a group of 22 cave temples in Pune, Maharashtra. Thus, you can quickly get the cheapest flight tickets from the USA to Pune and visit this place.  The ornate facades of this place are responsible for attracting most of the tourists. 

The art in the caves represents the image of Lord Buddha. Also, you can find here some beautiful paintings of Buddha. Make sure to visit the cave number 12. This cave has a massive horseshoe arch. Also, in it, you can find wooden details that are 2,200 years old. 

7. Badami Cave Temples

Badami Cave Temples

This cave in Karnataka gets its name from a soft form of sandstone. It is called Badami, and this cave temple was sculpted from it. Hence, you need to find some affordable flights to Karnataka to visit this place.  Further, there are four temples here. Out of these, three are Hindu shrines, and one is a Jain temple. 

You can find rock structures of Hindu gods in their diverse forms here. The most well-known of these is the carving of Lord Shiva as Natraja. Also, you can find one of Lord Vishnu as Varaha rescuing mother earth.

8. Masrur Temples

Masrur Temples

This hidden gem of Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful place. You can find the fantastic sikharas here. These are steep-sided pyramids. Also, the intricate stone carvings cover them and give them a unique look.

9. Kanheri Caves

Kanheri Caves

Kanheri Caves in Mumbai are a must-visit place on your next visit to Mumbai.  These are actually Buddhist temples that you can find close to the suburbs of the city. However, 2000 years ago this site was a dangerous trade route. 

You can find giant Buddhas at the entrance of Cave number 3. These are actually 7m tall. Besides, there are numerous sculptures and murals here. These are a significant part of ancient Indian art.

10. Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

In these caves of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, you can find many monuments. These are an essential part of art and history.  Also, there are 27-35 Jain temples here. However, some of these temples are now Hindu shrines.

The cave number 1 is the Rani Gumpha. This impressive cave has two floors with exquisite stone carvings. Also, Cave number 10 (Ganesa Gumpha) has beautiful stone carvings too.

11. Amarnath Temple

Amarnath Temple

Another place which you must visit at least once in your lifetime is the Amarnath Temple of Jammu and Kashmir. This place lies at an elevation of 3,888 meters. Also, it is one of the most important shrines of the Hindus. 

Snowcapped mountains encircle this sacred place. Further, to reach here, you will have to climb the challenging steep terrains.  However, this entire struggle is worth seeing the ice stalagmite (Sacred Shivlingam) that forms automatically in the cave.

12. Varaha Cave Temple

Varaha Cave Temple

This beautiful cave in Tamil Nadu dates back to the 7th century. You can find a statue of Lord Vishnu here. This is in the form of a bear that elevates from the sea. Also, you can find many other mythological figures in these caves. 

These are the best sites to view the historical rock-cut architecture of India. You just need to select one and find some cheap flight offers and visit them.