Comparision of art form found at Ellora and Mahabalipuram

Comparision of art form found at Ellora and Mahabalipuram

Stylistic Similarities

  1. Mahabalipuram monuments are carved out of single stone, which is also the case in case of Ellora Kailash Temple.
  2. The reliefs, sculptures and architecture depict the gods, goddesses found in Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism
  3. The relief panels at both the monuments showcase stories of two major Hindu Epics -Ramayana and Mahabharata

e.g. The Relief panel of Arjuna’s Penance at Mahabalipuram and The relief panel of Ravana shaking Kailash at Ellora

  1. Both have rock-cut and cave temples.
      • For instance in Ellora’s Cave 21, also called Rameshwar Lena is cave and rock cut temple.
      • Similarly in Mahabalipuram Varaha cave is cave temple and pancharathas are rock cut.
  1. Gavaksha or Chandrashala a type of horseshoe arch is a common feature
      • eg. The Draupadi Ratha of Mahabalipuram and the cave 10 at Ellora both share the Gavaksha feature
  1. The carvings of the Mahisasur-Vadh in Ellora is very similar to the Pallava style in Mahabalipuram
  2. Crest Carving: – is a kind of rock carving from the outside is a dominant feature at Mahabalipuram. The same can be seen in the Kailashnath temple and Dasavatara Nandimandapa at Ellora
  3. The barrel vaulted roof a special feature of the Bhima ratha in Mahabalipuram is also a feature at Ellora caves


Apart from the similarities some distinct features make each of these architectural treasures different from the other

  1. Ellora caves have been carved out of the volcanic basaltic formation ,While those at Mahabalipuram are of granitic origin
  2. Ellora architecture also comprises Jain temples and Buddhist chaitya halls
  3. The style of figures at Mahabalipuram are more slender, less mobile, and colder in feeling
  4. While Mahabalipuram showcases deductive carving, Ellora architecture is majorly on core carving techniques.
  5. The cruciform plan of the Kailash temple at Ellora is not found in the Mahabalipuram architecture plan.