This cave is located on the south-most point in the row of Ellora Caves. Compared to many other caves in Ellora, Cave number 1 is considered simple. Of course that comparison is relative, otherwise it is a huge structure by itself.
This cave was used by the Buddhist monks as their residential quarter or as a montessori.
From outside Cave 1 looks line a long rectangular cut on the face of the hill. An open courtyard in the front and few steps give access to the cave.
Once entered inside, you’ll find it as a large open hall scooped out of the rocky hill. Further deep in the hall, along the wall are smaller room like chambers. Four on your right and 4 along the rear walls. These rectangular chambers were probably used by the senior monks, or even used as store rooms.
You can even find an unfinished chamber on the faced of Cave 1 , on your right as you face Cave 1.
The walls and the floor are evenly chiseled out, if not polished to a smoother level. The ceiling is undulated.
On the walls you can find a series of paired holes. These were used to tie ropes, possibly to make partitions.
So Cave 1 is the first one you’ll be visiting. It is a simple but good place to understand the rock cut architecture. Thanks to its simplicity, Cave 1 is not overwhelmed as other attractive ones like the Kailash Temple (Cave 16 ).
By the way Cave 1 is not the oldest cave in Ellora though it is numbered so. The numbering is based on the sequence of its location rather than based on the age. However Cave 1 belongs to one of the older groups to be excavated in Ellora. To that extend it is representative of the earlier (simpler) styles adopted by the Buddhist patrons, before the more elaborate Hindu caves were executed with its characteristic flamboyant style.