January 31, 2012
Every nook, crevice and stone was lighted, each basked in the glory of its beauty shown.
The Ajanta- Ellora Heritage Festival was celebrated once again after a void of three years. The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are a classic example of ancient Indian architectural heritage where the caves are cut out of rocks, all by hand.
Located near Aurangabad in Maharashtra state, the festival at the Ajanta and Ellora caves was earlier celebrated every year. This year the heritage festival was celebrated from January 26 to 29 and was enthusiastically welcomed by art, culture and history lovers.
Organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, the Ajanta-Ellora Heritage Festival was an extravaganza featuring cultural delights by various artists whose exhibits were spread all around the various cave temples. The festival also featured a classical music and dance show which saw various performing artists including many Bollywood stars.
Hema Malini, a famous yesteryear Bollywood actress and a renowned classical dancer stunned the audience when she gave a graceful performance along with her daughters, Esha and Ahana Deol. Other noted Indian performing artist included Ratnakar Gaikwad, featured vocalist Rasheed Khan, Bollywood singer Kailash Kher, Kuchipudi dancer Shalu Jindal and many others. “The Ellora festival is very renowned and it is a great thing that this has been happening since a very long time and our country’s renowned artistes are here, which stresses on the revival of our cultural heritage and this is a good platform to showcase one’s talent,” said Malini.
The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are listed as World Heritage Sites and were discovered in 1819 by John Smith who was a British army officer and discovered the caves during a hunting expedition.
While the Ajanta Caves date between 200 BC to 650 AD, the Ellora Caves date between 350 AD to 700 AD. There are 34 caves at Ellora and 29 caves at Ajanta. Both these places have caves dedicated to Buddhist, Jainism and Hindu religions.
One of the most visited and famous among the caves, is the Kailash Temple which is a part of the Ellora Caves and a monolithic structure that has been carved out of a single rock. The temple has a gateway, pavilion, assembly hall, sanctum and tower.
The Ellora Festival of Classical Dance and Music is celebrated normally in the third week of March.
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