Outside the city of Aurangabad, sits a collection of 34 caves carved into temples.
The Hindu caves date from around 600-800 AD and the Jain temples date from 800-1000 AD. Not only are most of the stone carvings, but the original fresco is still observable in many places… Mostly inside on the ceilings and inside the shrine rooms in the Jain temple, but also observable in sections on the main Hindu temple, the Kailasa Temple, which is the world’s largest monolithic sculpture.
The caves are hewn out of the volcanic basaltic formation of Maharasthra, known as ‘Deccan Trap’, (step like formation of the volcanic deposits). The rock formation, on weathering has given rise to the appearance of terraces with flat summits. There are also channels still observable through which the volcanic lava once flowed. These channels, due to overheating, have a characteristic brownish red colour.
The basaltic formation of the Deccan is ideal for rock hewing, the technique widely understood during ancient times. This induced the religious followers of various creeds to establish their settlements in them. By a rough estimate, there are nearly 1200 caves of varying sizes in the entire Maharashtra region of India.