- Location: Aurangabad in India
- Time to Visit: October to March
- Admission Fee: Fees for foreigners is $US10 for the Ajanta caves. The Ellora caves are free to enter except for the magnificent open-air Kailasa temple which charges $US 5. Children younger than 15 years are free at both places.
- How to Reach: There is also an airport in Aurangabad, the Chikkalthana Airport (IXU). Jet Airways, Air India IC and Air Deccan operate regular flights to Aurangabad from Delhi, Mumbai and Nagpur. Buses, cars, and autos ply between Aurangabad and the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Aurangabad is also well linked connected with the rest of India by railways and roadways.
- Nearest Railway Station: Aurangabad
- Nearest International Airport: Mumbai
- Time required for sightseeing: 2-3 hours or a full day These ancient masters were environment-conscious! Believe it or not, all paintings in the Ajanta Caves are painted in herbally derived colors. And simply imagine the grandeur they were able to invest their works with, using some the commonest herbs and plants they found at their disposal,
coupled with fascinating brushwork.
To understand the sensation you feel once you step inside the Ajanta Cave, picture this: you are standing in front of a poignant and defining moment in the spiritual history of humankind. Buddha looms as a monumental figure, dark and gloomy, his features faded in a sharp chiaroscuro against a background of light — all sensations transcended, all feelings spent, all desires defeated. His wife and child – Rahul, stand resplendent in their royal attires — sadness in their eyes with a foreboding sense of impending loss. Buddha to them is lost: he does not belong to them anymore — he is of the world, in the pursuit of eternal peace, in search of the way to peace — a peace that transcends violence and hatred. You are standing in front of a touching fresco on the stone wall of the Ajanta, masterfully executed by an anonymous master from the past. His lines move like poetry, his colors strike you with a grave profundity of vision.
This is only one of the wide panoramas of feelings that the wonderful paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora Caves can incite in you. Located near the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India, this is a group of the most spectacular cave temples ever made in human history. The Ajanta and Ellora Caves bring to light the architectural grandeur and majesty of ancient India. Even in this age of modern engineering, these caves stand out as one of the most awe-inspiring architectural and artistic achievements of man. They are listed among the World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
Ajanta Caves: History and Aesthetic Appeal
The caves were made in the period between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. There are 29 caves in Ajanta while Ellora has 34 caves. The Ajanta Caves are famous for their paintings while the Ellora Caves are famous for their majestic carvings and sculptures. The existence of the caves remained shrouded in mystery until the year 1819 when John Smith, a British Army Officer, accidentally discovered them. Since then, the caves have been objects of immense interest.
The Ajanta Caves are located in the midst of the Sahyadri Hills. They were carved into the inclined mountainside. The caves in Ajanta were used by Buddhist monks as their shelter. The paintings depict various stories from the Jataka tales, which are narratives devoted to the previous incarnations of Lord Buddha. Apart from the paintings, there are also some stunning statues of Lord Buddha, which were constructed with the simplest of sculpting tools like hammers and chisels.