Ellora Cave 12 is a three-storied Buddhist cave and the largest excavation in Ellora. Construction of the cave goes back to seventh century. The cave is full of different sculptures of deities, both male and female.
Architecture of Ellora Cave 12
Cave 12 is a massive monastery on three floors. The other monastic caves are much smaller. The architectural design of Ellora Cave 12 indicates that the cave might have operated as a Buddhist educational centre. Entrance to the cave is from a large courtyard.
Caves 11 and 12 might have been the last Buddhist caves excavated in Ellora. The ground floor in cave 12 has a long hall with three rows of pillars. A Buddha shrine is cut into the rear wall. Steps lead to the intermediate floor and the lay-out is similar.The large upper floor has a verandah, a hall with four rows of pillars and a shrine.The walls have big sculptures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Buddhist Sculptures and Deities
Ellora Cave 12 portrays two elegant panels showing Dhyani Buddhas and Manushi Buddhas. The Five Dhyani Buddhas are icons of Mahayana Buddhism. One of the panels depicts a row of seven Manushi Buddhas. The second panel shows seven Dhyani Buddhas. The cave also portrays various manifestations of Bodhisattvas and different forms of Buddhist gods.
Buddhism is acclaimed as the religion of peace and kindness. It is also known as the religion of gender equality.
Tara is an important figure in Buddhism. Believers consider her as the Mother of Liberation. She is most often shown with the blue lotus or night lotus (utpala), which releases its fragrance on the appearance of moon. Therefore Tārā is also associated with the moon and night. Bhrikuti, the goddess that frowns, is Tara’s angry form. She is usually represented as Green Tara in Tibetan iconography. Avalokitesvara is the Bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy. He is beloved throughout the Buddhist world
Decline of Buddhist Excavations in Ellora
In the early eight century, rock cut activity in Ellora came to a stop. This may have happened because kings or traders had withdrawn their support. Rivalry between different religious sects was possibly the reason.
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