National Geographic : 1953 May
Colossal Buddha Broods in an Ellora Cave About 1,300 years ago a group of Ajanta artist monks moved to Ellora, 50 miles southwest of Ajanta, and began carving fresh caves in a majestic cliff. Ellora became a cross roads for India's religions. Hindus and Jains, an as cetic Indian sect, joined the Buddhists. All three groups left their stone gods carved in more than 30 temples and monasteries hewn out of rock. Ellora, unlike Ajanta, never became a lost shrine. Although Ellora was begun by Buddhists, it soon became a major monument to the Hindu god Siva. In the end, Buddha was made an incarnation of Vishnu, another Hindu god, and the Master's religion was ab sorbed into Hinduism. Meanwhile Buddhism con tinued to flourish in Asian nations as far away as Japan. This Buddha towers 11 feet in a monks' enormous hall. Haloed Bodhisattvas, beings who have entered the path of wisdom, protect him with sword and yak tail fly whisk. These di vinities will become Bud dhas in a future incarna tion. Smaller Buddhas medi tate on thrones of lotus, sacred flower of the faith.