(1) Edakkal

Edakkal is in Wayanad district of Kerala.The tallest mountain in the district, Ambukuthi mala, is located here. Three pre-historic caves known as the Edakkal Caves had been discovered on Ambukuthi mala. There are Stone Age pictorial writings on the walls of these natural caves.

The older group of cave paintings and engravings, going back at least 7000 years, depicts pre-historic tribal chieftains, elephants, queens and tools.

(2) Ellichpur / Achalpur

It is in Amravati district of Maharashtra. Though tributary to the Delhi Sultanate after 1294, it remained under Hindu administration till 1318, when it came directly under the Delhi Sultanate.

In 1347 Achalpur with the Berar region was ruled by the Bahmani Sultanate. In 1490 Imad-ul-Mulk proclaimed his independence and founded the Imad Shahi dynasty of the Berar Sultanate. He established his capital at Ellichpur.

It later came under the Mughal empire and then under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

(3) Ellora / Elapura


Ellora is located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.

It is famous for rock-cut cave architecture excavated between 2nd century AD and 10th century AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and viharas and mathas were built during the rule of the Kalachuri, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta.

The Jagannatha Sabha, a group of five Jain cave temples of 9th century built by Rashtrakuta. The Jain caves are of Digambara sect.

The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves, built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period.

These structures consist mostly of viharas or monasteries: large, multistoreyed buildings carved into the mountain face, including living quarters, sleeping quarters and other rooms. Some of these monastery caves have shrines including carvings of Gautama Buddha, bodhisattvas and saints.

Only chaitya griha of the Buddhist caves is cave 10 (700 AD). Beyond its multi-storeyed entry is a stupa hall. Other Buddhist caves are monasteries.

Among Hindu Architecture, Kailasanatha temple (partly rock cut and partly structural) is most famous. It was excavated by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna in 8th century. It shows the features of Dravidian architecture. It is designed to recall Mount Kailash and looks like a free standing, multistoreyed temple complex, but it was carved out of one single rock.

The Dashavatara Cave has an open court with a free-standing monolithic mandapa at the middle and a two-storeyed excavated temple at the rear. Large sculptural panels between the wall columns on the upper floor, which include the ten avatars of Vishnu.An inscription of grant of Dantidurga of Rashtrakuta is found on the back wall of the front mandapa.

Several inscriptions from are found here: Inscription of Rashtrakuta Dantidurga (8th century AD), Inscriptions on the Kailash temple. Jain cave Jagannatha Sabha has inscriptions that give the names of monks and donors.

Vace paintings are also seen at Ellora.

(4) Elephanta

Elephanta is a small island of Mumbai. It was known as Gharapuri (literally “the city of Caves”) in ancient time.

Elephanta Caves consist of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves.

The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures dedicated Shiva. The rock cut architecture of the caves has been dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock.

No inscription has been found. Archaeological excavations have unearthed a few Kshatrapa coins dated to 4th century AD.

The Chalukyas and mostly the Rashtrakutas were the main creators of the caves, mostly in 7th and 8th century. The Trimurti of Elephanta showing the three faces of Shiva is akin to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva), which was the royal insignia of the Rashtrakutas. The Nataraja and Ardhanarishvara sculptures are also attributed to the Rashtrakutas.

Later, Elephanta was ruled by Gujarat Sultanate, who surrendered it to the Portuguese in 1534. The Portuguese named the island “Elephanta Island” in honour of a huge rock-cut black stone statue of an elephant that was then installed on a mound.


The main cave/Shiva cave/Cave 1/Great Cave:

Left top clockwise: 1. Trimurti 2. Kalyanasundara: the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvati with Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, and other divinities in attendance.3. Shiva slaying Andhaka4. Shiva as Yogisvara, doing penance.5. The four-armed doorkeeper 6. Ardhanarishvara (center) at Elephanta caves. Note the sculpture’s left is female and the right is male, depicting Shiva and his consort Parvati.
1.Cave 1 east entrance (right door) middle courtyard connecting the east-end cave (left door).2.Shiva Linga shrine and Dvarapalas at door entry.3. the leogriff figure
Left top clockwise: 1. Shiva and Parvati on Mount Kailasha..2.Gangadhara Shiva (right) with part of the Trimurti and a guardian (left). 3.Shiva as Nataraja (Cosmic dancer) 4. Ravana shaking Mount Kailash

(5) Eran


Eran, also known as Airkina, is in Sagar district, Madhya Pradesh. This city was under Gupta Empire. The archaeological site nearby Eran has revealed several Gupta inscriptions. A contemporary epigraphic inscription of Samudra Gupta (335-380 AD) is found here. It mentions that a part of western Mawa was annexed by Chandra Gupta.

An inscription at Eran dated 510 AD gives the first concrete evidence of Sati in ancient India.

Eran had a number of Vishnu shrines of Gupta period but only some remains. A Vishnu temple at Eran with varah is famous.

  • 1. Vishnu temple at Eran with Varah. 2. Vishnu temple mandapa at Eran

(6) Ernakulam 

  • Starting from the Stone Age, Ernakulam has been the site of human settlement. Monolithic monuments like Dolmens and rock-cut caves can be seen in many parts of Ernakulam.

(7) Erragudi / Yerragudi

  • Major and Minor Rock Edict of Ashoka near Kurnool district, A.P.

(8) Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

It is in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh. This city was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar which took about 11 years (1569-80). It was built on the outskirts of Akbarabad (name of Agra). Here Akbar built Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam, Panch Mahal, Mariam Palace, Jodha Bai Palace etc.

There is also the Jami Masjid with Buland Darwaza (built after conquering Gujarat) and tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti. During Akbar’s time, it became a city of poets and musicians, historians, artists, craftmen. Ibadat Khana debate of theologians used to happen here during Akbar time where foundation of a new syncretistic faith, Din-e-Ilahi was laid by Akbar.

The imperial complex of Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to the exhaustion of the small, spring fed lake that supplied the city with water.

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