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Ajanta and Ellora Caves

4.3 /5 146 votes


Best Time: Jun-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Check Flights

"World Heritage Ancient Rock-Cut Caves"

Ajanta and Ellora Caves Tourism

Ajanta and Ellora caves, considered to be one of the finest examples of ancient rock-cut caves are located near Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, India. Adorned with beautiful sculptures, paintings and frescoes, Ajanta and Ellora caves are an amalgamation of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monuments as the complex includes both Buddhist monasteries as well as Hindu and Jain temples. The Ajanta caves are 29 in number and were built in the period between 2nd century BC and 6th century AD whereas the Ellora Caves are more spread out and 34 in number and dates to the period between 6th and 11th Century AD.

Ajanta and Ellora caves are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are quite popular among travellers from all over the world. Ajanta Caves, located around 99km north of Aurangabad are mostly Buddhist sites and were used as a retreat by Buddhist Monks. Ellora is just  15 km west of Aurangabad and have a better mix of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist sites. These hand-carved caves were built and sponsored by the Indian rulers of those periods and are almost buried by thick forests all around. One of the most famous sites in the entire Ajanta and Ellora Caves is the Kailash Temple, which is also the single largest monolithic structure in the world. These rock-cut caves containing carvings are some of the best examples of ancient Indian architecture and sculpture.

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A walk through the history

The paintings and sculptures of the Ajanta Caves dates back to the beginning of the era of classical Indian art. They are sought to be one of the most beautiful caves in India. The mesmerising charm of the caves takes us back to 2nd Century BC and 6th Century AD. They are a marvellous piece of art in Indian history. Ajanta caves comprise of 29 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments. The caves portray the Buddhist culture and stories expressed in the form of numerous sculpture and paintings. They also relate to the popular Jataka Tales. The basic design and layout of the caves are called Chaityagrihas and Viharas.

Ellora Caves has 34 caves and is also famous for the largest single monolithic rock-cut temple in the world, popularly knows as the Kailash temple. The 12 large caves mainly comprise of Viharas (monasteries). It constitutes of various shrines of Budha of Bodhisattva Saints. The most famous cave is called the Chaitya Hall or Carpenter's Cave. In the centre of this cave is a massive 15 feet tall Budha Statue. 

Visiting Ajanta and Ellora is like travelling back in time. These caves have been in existence for more than 2,000 years and is astonishing in every possible sense. To even think of recreating an architectural marvel like this, even in today's world of heavy engineering is difficult. 

Restaurants and Local Food in Ajanta and Ellora Caves

The cuisine of Aurangabad exudes the flavour of North India and Hyderabadi cuisine as the city of Aurangabad was ruled by the Mughals and the Nizams. Those who love to gorge on delightful dishes can eat to their heart's content and take back the memories and aroma of famous flavoured Nawabi biriyanii or the aromatic pulao. Being a Muslim predominated area, this place is a food lover's delight, especially for non-vegetarians. Kebabs are another specialty.
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One Day Itinerary

Ajanta and Ellora Caves in One Day
Covering both the caves in one day is quite difficult and not recommended to truly enjoy the caves. Also, while Ellora caves is situated around 15 km west of Aurangabad, but the Ajanta caves is around 99km north of Aurangabad. To even think of doing this, you must have a car or taxi of your own and you need to start as early as possible. Also, beware that Ajanta caves are closed on Monday and Ellora caves are closed on Tuesday. So if you plan to do them both in a single day, you must do it on any of day between Wednesday to Sunday. 

Start from Aurangabad and go to Ajanta caves first, which would take roughly 2 and half hours by car. If you leave by 5:30am, then you should reach just on time as the site opens by 8am for visitors. 

Explore there for around 2 and half hours and leave by 10:30am to reach Aurangabad back by 1pm. Have lunch in the city and then get ready to leave for Ellora Caves by 2pm. You should reach in half an hour and you will have another 2 and half hours to explore various parts of Ellora Caves. 

Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Two Days

Two days are sufficient to cover both the caves and that too by public transport. For Ellora Tour, there are luxury buses that start around 9:30am from the MTDC office on Aurangabad Railway Station Road. This tour also includes several famous sites in Aurangabad. After coming back to Aurangabad, have a good night rest as the next day will involve much more travel. Take the bus to Ajanta Caves the next day from the Aurangabad Central Bus Station located on Aurangabad Road. This bus ride will be roughly 3 hours long, so be prepared and pack some snacks as well. The bus will drop you at Ajanta Caves Road Entrance where some shops and restaurants are present for tourists. From there, you can take another bus to the entrance of the main caves which would hardly take 10 minutes. Beware that these are local buses and can be slightly rough for a lot of tourists. 

Ajanta and Ellora Caves Photos

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

The beautiful sculptures, frescoes and paintings from the bygone era. Depicts the rich heritage and culture of India.

What's Not So Great?

Difficult to visit during the summer season (April-June) because of the extreme heat. Also, the caves are located outside of the main city of Aurangabad and needs atleast two days to cover. 

For Whom?

Must visit for history buffs, explorers, architecture and archaeological enthusiasts. People interested in Buddhishm and Hinduism will also find it interesting. Good for people of all ages. Great place if you are travelling solo or with family or in a big group. 

How To Reach Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora caves are located about 100 km from each other. Jalgaon is the closest airport to Ajanta caves located 50 km away with connecting flights from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Aurangabad is the closest city to Ellora Caves. It is about 100 km away from Ajanta and 30 km away from Ellora. Aurangabad Airport is the best-connected airport with several flights from major cities across India. Jalgaon and Aurangabad Railway station are the two railway junctions which are well connected with all the cities in India. There are many private and government buses which run from the main cities in and around Maharashtra.

Ask a Question

Ask a question from the travellers who have experience.

Q. What are the places to eat around the caves?

Surbhi Parashar 1 year ago
Amazing sitaphal (custard apple) available along the western ghats!

Ajanta and Ellora Caves Reviews

Your rating
Kamaljit Singh 9 months ago
You can reach caves by means of train at Aurangabad in Maharashtra
Kovid Kapoor 1 year ago
Visiting these caves should ideally be a two day trip. It takes around 6 hours by road from Mumbai, after which exploring the caves (and all the walking involved in between) can get tiring. The paintings of Ajanta and sculptures of Ellora used to be marvellous many years ago, and they still retain this beauty, but they seem to have deteriorated in terms of maintenance. However, it remains a must-visit destination for its beautiful illustrations and reminder of a regal Indian era. I would advise avoiding visits in the summer because the caves become incredibly hot and it is hard to enjoy the experience. Instead, come in the later months of the year from August and September onwards.
Aashimi Bhatia 1 year ago
- Ajanta caves face the east so visit them in the first half of the day as there is no light inside by the evening.
- Ellora caves face the west so visit them in the second half of the day.
- This trip has to be well planned. Covering Ajanta and Ellora caves in one day is very very difficult considering the distance and walking to do. Best is schedule 2-3 days.
- Don't go to the corners of the caves as there are lots of bats.
- Keep a torch with you when you visit the caves.
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