Ajanta Ellora Tourism, Maharashtra

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Ajanta-Ellora Caves - Maharashtra Tourism

Ajanta and Ellora are one of the most popular travel destinations in Maharashtra. Lakhs of tourists from India and outside visit Ajanta and Ellora every year, to witness the majestic rock cut caves dating back from 2nd century BC to 480 CE. These caves are a UNESCO world heritage site and lie under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Ajanta and Ellora are two different places that are often talked about together due to their similarity in terms of both are rock cut caves dating back to early history.

Ajanta caves, located in the Sahyadri hills, are rock cut caves that dates back to 100 B.C. These 30 Ajanta caves were created over a period of 600 years, in a huge horseshoe formed rock that overlooks a gorge. Many of these caves have rooms and inner rooms, which were crafted as Chaityas (chapels) for prayers and Viharas (monasteries) for Buddhist monks to live and teach. The cave walls are also full of exquisite carvings and wall paintings that have been created by just hammer and chisel. These carvings provide a view into the life of ancient India with details like hair styles, ornaments, textiles, musical instruments, detail of architecture etc.

Ellora caves are about 600 years younger than Ajanta caves (built from 5th century to 11th century) and were carved out of a vertical face of escarpment. These caves are about 34 in number and have Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, and Viharas, or monasteries. Ellora cave complex include Buddhist monasteries along with Hindu and Jain temples. An example of perfect religious harmony the complex includes 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves. The Ellora caves are also home to the Kailasa temple which is the largest monolithic structure in the world.

Maharashtra government also organizes a 4-day long Ajanta-Ellora festival for tourists, which is held at Soneri Mahal in last week of November every year at Aurangabad. The festival provides opportunities for tourists to witness some extraordinary music and dance performances.

The best way to reach these caves is from Aurangabad, which has its own airport and railway station. There are also some good hotel options in Aurangabad for travelers. There are options of taking a bus or hiring a cab to visits these caves from Aurangabad. Ajanta caves are closed on Monday and Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Ajanta caves are located at a distance of 109 km from Aurangabad, while Ellora caves are closer at a distance of 30 km from Aurangabad.

   

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