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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

Vernacular Studies - Ajantha and Ellora, Maharashtra.


India has more than enough in hand to feel proud about and one such is our culture, varied tradition, and the diverse land of beautiful architecture with significance. The architecture of India itself is a textbook of times to the students of architecture and more than a reference point. In this blog, we will be looking into the vernacular aspect of Ajantha and Ellora, Maharashtra.

Theoretically, vernacular architecture can be defined as architecture born out of local building materials and technologies, which are also expected to be climate-responsive and a reflection of the customs and lifestyles of the particular community. Contemporary architecture can also be vernacular if it is generated from an understanding of local materials and indigenous methods of building construction.

Ajantha and Ellora caves were built during 757-783 AD by Krishna I in the Kalachuris period.

Ajantha Caves are among the greatest surviving examples of ancient Indian cave art and much older than the Ellora Caves. It is a set of 30 caves comprising of Chaitya halls or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha and Viharas or monasteries, used by Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings. Whereas the Ellora Caves are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and are celebrated for their Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples and monuments which were carved from the local cliff rock in the 6th to 8th century CE.


For a long time the Ellora Caves, along with the nearby Ajanta Caves, are a major tourist attraction in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra and a protected monument.

The caves, famous for their temple architecture and many delicately drawn murals, are located in a 76 m high, horseshoe-shaped escarpment overlooking the Waghora (tiger) River is located to the north of Aurangabad in the Indhyadri range of Western Ghats. Each cave is of significance depicting stories from the ancient period with the carvings of characters and some of the caves even have unfinished scripture work.

Ellora Caves are also situated in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra and is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain monuments, and artwork, dating from the 600–1000 CE period. 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad.


Both the caves are of high historical importance and star tourist attraction of Maharashtra. These monuments ageing back to centuries are still considered gems of Indian Architecture. Survival of these temples and structures to this date is considered a victory. UNESCO has tagged both the caves under World Heritage monuments.


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