Ajanta Caves

FAST FACTS
Location In Maharashtra state, Western India
STD Code 0240
Main Attractions Sculptural work, Cave paintings
Sightseeing Duration 01 Full Day
Accommodation At Hotels in Aurangabad city, Maharashtra State.
Next destinations Ellora, Aurangabad, Burhanpur, Mandu
PHOTOS
Ajanta Caves ajanta tourism images ajanta caves images

INTRODUCTION
Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located close to tourism city Aurangabad. Ajanta caves are collection of 30 Buddhist caves carved out by artists. These caves are cut out from volcanic lava rocks of the Deccan plateau in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri hills and are set in beautiful sylvan surroundings. The caves of Ajanta are famous for there architectural qualities, serenity of sculptures and the famous carvings and paintings done on the walls anode the caves interior. These caves were discovered in 1819 by a British officer John Smith who accidentally found these cave while he was hunting a tiger with his fellow officers. Ajanta caves date from 2nd BCE to 500 CE. These caves are the best examples of the ancient Indian architecture heritage. It is one of the most popular tourist destination, especially for those who believes in Buddhism. Visitor timing is 09:00hrs to 17:30hrs.

These caves are in a semi-circular shape situated on a huge horse-shoe shaped valley with in the Sahyadri hills overlooking a narrow sinuous gorge and are about 120 kilometers from Aurangabad city and 100 kms from Ellora caves, near a small village called Ajanta. There are 30 caves in Ajanta of which 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are Chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries, and they are excavated between the 2nd century BCE. and 6th century ACE. Most of these caves were finished, a few were half finished, a pathway, scooped out from stone, runs as a crescent by the caves for pedestrians. All the caves are numbered, not in chronological order by from outer extremity to inside. From this, one can have a glorious view of the ravine below. Caves are made above ground level, approx. 30 ft. to 110 ft. to protect from dangers like wild animal, flooding etc. and was reached through ladder. Their is presence of small waterfalls close to caves which ensures water availability to Buddhist monks who lives their.

HOW TO REACH

LOCATION MAP

Ajanta caves are located in North Maharashtra state in West India. It geographical location is at latitude 19.87617 and longitude 75.34331. Two cities can be considered best in reaching Ajanta caves i.e. Aurangabad (120kms) and Jalgaon (50kms). In between Aurangabad is well connected with good tourism infrastructure whereas Jalgaon is small town but located most suitably close to caves. More specific reaching information is given below:
Train connectivity: Jalgaon and Aurangabad railway stations can be use for visiting Ajanta caves. Here Jalgaon railway station have direct train connectivity with important cities & tourist destinations like New Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Bhopal, Burhanpur, Gwalior, Jhansi, Goa, Pune, Bangalore, Varanasi, Allahabad etc. Similarly Aurangabad railway station (Railway code: AWB) is also well connected with cities like New Delhi, Bhopal, Agra, Gwalior etc.
Flight connectivity: For traveling Ajanta caves through flight, one can reach Aurangabad airport which is nearest airport from Ajanta caves. It is just 120kms/03:00hrs and have direct flights from two important international airports i.e. Delhi & Mumbai, at regular interval. After reaching Aurangabad airport, one can reach caves by surface drive.
Road connectivity: Ajanta caves have good road connectivity with Aurangabad and Jalgaon. It is well connected by road network. By driving on Maharashtra state highway-190 you can reach Ajanta caves. It is little inside from highway in 76 meter high U-shaped valley. One can travel from destinations like Indore, Mumbai (490kms), Mandu (360kms), Maheshwar (300kms), Nagpur etc.

HISTORY
These caves are Buddhist monastery where students and monks studies and lives. It is designed as collection of colleges linked to a central location. Ajanta caves are believed to be en-carved in two phases. In first phase during 2nd BCE, few Buddhist caves were built by cutting lava rocks of Sahyadri hills. Here work started during the rule of Satvahana dynasty in 2nd BCE. Their are total 30 caves in this valley, out of which at least 06 caves are believed to be built in first phase called Hinayana phase and rest of the caves are built at least 4 centuries later in 5th century and are named Mahayana phase. Here Caves 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15A were built in first phase in which Cave 9 & 10 are Chaitya-grihas and remaining 4 caves are monasteries. Chaitya Grihas are have beautiful paintings, ceiling and large windows. Second phase caves were made during rule of Vatakas which was most vigorous and artistic period and this fact is reflected in caves art. Most of the painting work in caves were done during this phase.

PLACES TO VISIT or SIGHTSEEING
Ajanta caves are located near Fardapur town. Here total 30 rock-cut caves are available for sightseeing from 09:00 AM to 05:30 PM. All these caves are located in horse-shoe shaped valley in Sahyadri hills. These caves are famous for graceful elegance, sculptural serenity and architectural qualities.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Ajanta caves are open for visitors through the year. It is CLOSED ON EVERY MONDAY for visitors. If anybody have scheduled their sightseeing on Monday they he/she have option to visit nearby Ellora caves (Tuesday closed) which will open on Monday. Ajanta caves sightseeing requires full day as each caves have some unique attraction for tourists. Best time to visit Ajanta caves is from November to April. It is good due to healthy climatic condition and proximity to visit other connecting destinations. Otherwise, this site is open for visitors throughout the year. Due to severe heat in summers, one should try to visit this place in winters and autumn season.

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