The Ajanta and Ellora caves are representative of the flourish and growth
of Buddhism in India. Discovered by an accident, these caves are the best
examples of ancient Buddhist schools of learning and meditation. In total
there are 63 caves in Ajanta and Ellora, in hill ranges and covered by dense
forests and lush greenery. The place is ideal for studies, away from the
hustle bustle of the city and surrounded by pure, green atmosphere, it tells
why monks used to choose this place as a station of secluded study.
Ajanta Caves :
Ajanta caves are located at a distance of 110 km from Aurangabad City in
Maharashtra, and house some 29 splendid caves. The cave temples are very
beautifully carved out and were used as the residence of Buddhist monks. The
finely built walls of these temples house some beautiful structures of
Buddha. Interestingly the Ajanta caves represent both sects of Buddhism,
Hinayana that worshipped only symbolic structures and Mahayana, that
worshipped Buddha and other idols. This also signifies that the caves had
been used for a long period, or were in use during the end of Hinayana and
start of Mahayana. Caves numbered 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 belongs to
Hinayana, the older sect while 1,2, and 16, 17, 19 and 26 belong to the
latter, Mahayana sects. Cave 1 and 2 showcases the vibrant and splendidly
attractive mural paintings. Caves 19 and 26 are Chaityas that were used as
These caves are situated at a distance of 15 km from Aurangabad and are
equally important in terms of Buddhism and its flourishing history in India.
There are 34 caves in total, and interestingly, Jain, Hindu and Buddhist
caves are on a same platter, there in Ellora, implying a conversion or
assimilation between the religions. Caves 1 to 12 are Hindu while 13 to 29
are Buddhist caves and the rest are Jain.
The caves are situated in Charanadari hills in Verul village and are known
to be built during the period 350BC to 750AD.
The best thing to notice in the place is the landscape, which is cool and
soothing. The lush greenery covering the hill ranges make the place an ideal
location to visit during a pilgrimage or a general tour schedule.
The most striking aspect of the place is at cave 10, which is dedicated to
Viswakarma, the Hindu god, and surprisingly houses some Buddha figures and
If you are visiting these caves don't forget to include Aurangabad and
Daulatabad in you tour schedule as they are not very far from these caves.
Aurangabad is famous for Humroo shawls, Kimkhwab and Mushroo handicrafts,
Biwi Ka Maqbara and the Grishneshwara temple while Dulat-abaad is a
fantastic destination and I assure it won't play a spoilsport.
Aurangabad airport is merely around 30 km from Ellora caves, while it is
also nearest to Ajanta and also serves as a major railhead. The roads are
well built and good commutation facilities exist to these caves.