Skip to content

India Trip – Day Twelve

Today we spent at the Ellora caves.  We drug our weary selves up as early as we could,
hoping to cram as much into the day as we could, but it was still almost 8:30 before we were able to get ourselves through breakfast and several cups of tea.  The stroll to the caves was quick though, not more than 100 yards, and we had view of several of the cave entrances right from our bungalow at the hotel.

10 rupees for Sridevi (an Indian) and 250 for me got us through the gates, but we added another 600 to get a guide, as $11 didn’t really seem like a bad deal for 4-6 hours of guided tour.  Our plan had been to do a self tour, but the caves themselves seemed to preclude that, and the decision was a good one.

We started with Cave 16, which is a monolithic temple (carved from a single stone).  The planning that must have gone into this project is mind boggling.  They started 30 meters up and carved a single basalt rock into a temple 30 meters high, 45 meters wide and about 30 meters wide.  This took not a year or two, but generations.  The people that planned it we succeeded by their great grandchildren, long before work was completed.  All with a simple hammer and chisel.

Cave 16 gave way to several others, but it was cave 10 that left the largest impression on me.  Cave 10 is a spectacular arched cathedral style cave with an incredible ability to reverberate sound.  Specifically a Buddhist Chant must be amazing.  That tone would reverberate for at least a good 10 seconds after it is stopped.  I can only imagine 40 or 50 Buddhist Monks chanting in tune with each other.  Just the whispers of the visitors evoked the ghosts of monks long past for me.  This is one of the most powerful places that I can remember standing, and most certainly stands among the great cathedrals of the world in terms of raw spiritual power.  With doubt, this room is the most spiritual man made place that I have ever stood.  My beliefs have often felt close to Buddhism, more than other religions, the why was evident here for sure.

I felt awed by the power carved from the stone here, and my simple camera seemed to allow me to garner some spectacular photos; without the use of a tripod I was able to take up close pictures of structures that took lifetimes to build.  I look forward to many more trips to India and the countless other marvels to see.

I find it difficult to visit so many deeply spiritual places with very little time for contemplative thought.  It seems a shame to wander through a thousand years of labor in five hours, fighting off the hawkers as we go.

I find this to be common theme in the world.  It seems that there are large numbers of people rushing through their prayers just as fast as they rush through the rest of their consumeristic lives; never grasping the luxury of time in our lives that we have been given.  All of our technical wonders provide us many hours of freedom yet we choose to spend it not improving our world, our lives and our spirits, but instead we rush to shop and consume TV.

Interestingly this doesn’t seem to be a product of the west, or even capitalism, but instead seems to be a product of success.  The more success a person (and a culture) produces, the less it is enjoyed.  The boy with a flock of sheep along the road may be seen as simple and rough by the throngs in their cars rushing by with their air conditioners running, but he may also be the only one to wonder at the dragonfly, sipping of the water…  Who is truly more successful?

So we took the afternoon off to rest before rejoining the consumer society and purchasing more woven goods than we will know what to do with in the shop across the road from the Hotel Kailas.

From India Trip – Day 3

Tomorrow, Ajanta!

Posted in Buddhism, Family, India, Photos.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.