Ajanta Ellora caves – Aurangabad
Amazingly carved Ajanta and Ellora caves are an important UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are 34 caves at Ellora constructed between the 6th and 11th centuries AD, and 29 caves at Ajanta constructed between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. Funds for the construction of the caves were provided by various rulers.
The unbelievable Kailasa Temple (also known as the Kailash Temple), which forms Cave 16 at Ellora, is indisputably the most famous attraction. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his sacred abode at Mount Kailash. Its immense size covers twice the area of the Pantheon in Athens, and is one and a half times as high! The life-size elephant sculptures are a highlight.
The most inexplicable thing about the Ajanta and Ellora caves is that they were crafted by hand, with only a hammer and chisel. There are various caves in India, but these are definitely the most spectacular.
Northern Maharashtra, around 400 kilometers from Mumbai.
Travel time from Mumbai to Aurangabad by Indian Railways train is 6-7 hours.
You can also fly to Aurangabad airport which is the nearest airport and then travel to Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation runs economical daily guided bus tours to the Ajanta and Ellora caves from Aurangabad. The buses are comfortable air-conditioned Volvo buses. The tours run separately — one goes to Ajanta and the other to Ellora — and can be booked in advance at the Central Bus Stand and CIDCO Bus Stand.
Or, if you’d prefer to travel independently, you can easily take a public Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus from the Central Bus Stand in Aurangabad to Ellora (D0825) and Ajanta (D0647). It’s worth considering, as you’ll be able to get there before the tour buses do. The buses run frequently but they’re not air-conditioned.
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When to Visit
The greatest time to visit the caves is from November to March, when it’s calmer and dry.
The Ellora caves are open to the tourists from sunrise until sunset (around 5.30 p.m.), daily except Tuesdays. The Ajanta caves are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., daily except Mondays. Both caves are open on national holidays..
Where to Stay
Good accommodations at Ajanta are limited so if you need to stay in the area, it’s best to head to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s Ajanta T Junction Guest House or Ajanta Tourist Resort in nearby Fardapur.
Ajanta caves have India’s most cultured ancient paintings, the Ellora caves are well-known for their astonishing architecture. Both the caves have sculptures.
Ajanta has an outstanding setting overlooking a gorge along the Waghora River, making it more enjoyable to explore.
• Tourists can get an outstanding view of the inside of the Kailasa Temple at Ellora by climbing up the hill around it.
• When visiting Ajanta, start from the viewpoint. You can get dropped in the car at viewpoint and then you can Walk downhill from the viewpoint and enter at cave 8. Then walk right to the end and start your memeorable sighseeing of Buddhist architecture at cave 28. You will be able to cover most parts of the caves without the crowd. Bring a torch with you to the caves as many of them are quite dark and lighting is less.
• Try to reach the caves before 10 a.m. to beat the crowds and tour buses.