Ajanta & Elora - Aurangabad
Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad these caves are marvellous pieces of rock cut architecture that portray paintings and sculptures of religious Indian art. 29 caves of Ajanta and 34 caves of Ellora date back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD and 6th and 11th centuries AD respectively.
Ajanta is located 107 kilometers from Aurangabad and 60 kilometers from Jalgaon. A cluster of 32 Buddhist caves not far from a medieval village of the same name, the site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. Moreover, since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves located here can be chronologically divided into two phases viz. the early Buddhist caves of 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE and the Mahayana caves dating to 5th century CE. Among the early caves, 9 and 10 are ‘chaityas’ which comprise the earliest known remnants of paintings in the history of India while 8, 12, 13, and 15A are ‘viharas’. Caves 19, 26 and 29 are chaityas of the Mahayana period and all the other caves are viharas.
A chaitya is a Buddhist shrine housing a stupa. In modern texts on Indian architecture, the term chaitya-griha is often used to denote an assembly or prayer hall that houses astupa. A vihara is the Sanskrit and Pali term for a Buddhist monastery. It originally meant a secluded place in which to walk, and referred to dwellings or refuges used by wandering monks during the rainy season.
Ellora is an amazing feat of human genius – the Kailash Temple alone, a truely stunning piece, required the removal of 250,000 tons of rock and took 100 years to complete. The powerful Chalukya and Rashtrakuta kings, oversaw most of the work at Ellora – and built the magnificent Kailasa Temple built in the 700s.
One of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Maharashtra, Ellora dates back to about 1,500 years ago, and is the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 caves are actually Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religious monuments carved in the rock. They were given the status of World heritage Site in 1983. Created between the 6th and 10th century, the 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves carved in proximity at Ellora are proof of the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
Shirdi To Ajanta & Elora – Aurangabad Route
4 h 13 min (202 km) via Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai Hwy and MH MSH 8. This route has tolls.
- Shirdi, Maharashtra Head west on Shirdi-Puntamba Rd/Shrirampur-Shirdi towards Pimpalwadi Rd Pass by Tirth Prasad Lodge (on the right) 19 s (210 m)
- Drive from Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai Hwy, Aurangabad-Phulambri-Sillod Rd and MH MSH 8 to Balapur 3 h 53 min (193 km)
- Take T Point to View Point 14 min (8.0 km)
- Ajanta Caves,Maharashtra 431117.