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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