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Ajanta Caves - A Series Of Buddhist Cave Temples - Maharashtra - India

Ajanta is located in Aurangabad District of Maharashtra, on the main highway between Aurangabad and Jalgaon, 104 kms away from Aurangabad and 59 kms away from Jalgaon. The distance between Ajanta and Ellora Caves is approx. 100 kms. Ajanta caves are the part of small hills in the area, 4 kms from the main highway. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is also a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India. There are 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.

State: Maharashtra
District: Aurangabad
Famous for: Historical, Heritage
Languages: Marathi, Hindi
Best Season: Jun - Mar
Weather: Summer 20 to 42°C, Winter 10 to 32°C
Altitude: 513 m
Pincode: 431118
STD code: 02432

The world heritage Ajanta caves are one of the few historical and architectural marvels of India. It was discovered accidentally during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. These caves are located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora. They describe the story of Lord Buddha and Buddhism religion that prevailed here during 200 BC to 650 AD. The rock caves of Ajanta, numbering about 30,are in the shape of a mammoth horseshoe, nestling in an inner fold of the Sahyadri Hills. The rock-cut caves demonstrate the skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. The amazing thing about these caves is that both the paintings and sculptures have withstood the passage of fourteen centuries and visitors are stunned by their complexity and beauty. Cave 10 is also quite attractive for its Buddha images and the depiction of Jataka tales. Cave 16 and 17 are monasteries full with images of Jataka tales, child and youth of Buddha, the Sravasti tales etc and are good examples of architecture. Caves 1,2,3,5,6,8, 14, 15,16 and 17 are Viharas or monasteries, 19 and 26 are prayer halls while caves 20 to 25 were used for residential purposes. The caves at Ajanta tell the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built as private abode of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals. Using simple tools like hammer and chisel, the monks carved out the imposing figures gracing the walls of these structures.

In all, total 30 excavations were hewn out of rock which also include an unfinished one. These caves were discovered by an Army Officer in the Madras Regiment of the British Army in 1819 during one of his hunting expeditions. Instantly the discovery became very famous and Ajanta attained a very important tourist destination in the world. Caves numbered 8,9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 are of the older sect, Hinayana. Mahayana related vcaves are numbered 1, 2, 16, 17, 19 and 26 where, 19 and 26 are Chaityas. Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century BC-AD and some of them about the fifth century AD and continued for the next two centuries. All paintings shows heavy religious influence and centre around Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique. The fact that these caves were inhibited by Buddhist monks and religious devotees for more than 800 years is, in itself, enough to support it become a UNESCO world heritage site. Even then, there are lots of other specimens to support its uniqueness and importance in archaeology as well as history. The Ajanta caves depict paintings and sculptures that shows heavy religious influence, revolving around Buddhist philosophy, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Gautama Buddha and the Jataka Tales. There are some unsurpassable paintings in the caves 1 and 2, mainly depicting the Jataka Tales. Buddha preaching in sitting position is the other common example of sculptures. Though all the caves are interesting to watch and noteworthy, if one has only a little time in hand caves, remember 1,2,16,17, 19 and 26 are must see.

Timing For Visit Ajanta Caves

  • Open Time : 9.00 AM to 17.30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST)
  • Open Days: Ajanta Caves remain closed on Monday. Open All National Holidays.

Entry Fee and Other Charges For Visit Ajanta Caves

  • For Indians below 15 years : FREE of Charge
  • For Indians above 15 years : Rs. 10/- per head
  • For Foreigners above 15 years : US $5 or equivalent in Indian rupees per head
  • For Photo Camera/ Video Camera: Rs. 5/- (Camera to be used without flash)

Best Time To Visit Ajanta Caves

The best time to visit Ajanta city is between the months of June and March. Monsoon (June to September) and winter (November to February) seasons are the best time to explore Ajanta Caves.

Tourist Attractions Near Ajanta Caves

Excursions can be made to Aurangabad which is as famous for its medieval monuments as for its proximity to the famous world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. Some popular tourist destination are very closed from Ajanta Caves some of them are listed bellow.

Ellora cave: The Ellora caves are 34 in number carved into the sides of a basaltic hill, 30 kms from Aurangabad.
Ajanta View Point: This view point is on the way to Ajanta at 8 km distance, 10 km before Ajanta at Balapur Junction.
Ghatotkach Caves: A distance of about 14-15 kms from Golegaon towards the left, on Aurangabad - Ajanta highway.
Vetalwadi Fort: Although this fort is unmanned and has the nearest town as Soygaon .

Shopping Near Ajanta Caves

Shopping in Ajanta is restricted to the government shops near the bus stop. However Aurangabad is famous for shopping where one can alight or stopover to buy Himroo shawls, Paithani sarees or fabric like Mashru and Kimkhab. Also available are a wide display of jewellery made of semiprecious stones and decorative pieces. krishi bazaar and grain market are famous markets near Ajanta Caves.

Restaurants Near Ajanta Caves

The walk from the Ajanta Caves to the Ellora Caves can be quite a task and can also make you very thirsty. Throughout the journey, there are local food stalls and counters were soft drinks, fresh juices and snacks are sold. MTDC restaurant and jai sai dhaba Restaurants are very famous.

Hotels Near Ajanta Caves

Hotels catering to all kinds of budget are available at Aurangabad. Quality hotels are also found in Jalgaon. Some of them listed bellow.

Hotel Kailas
Auragabad District, Ellora
1.3 km from Ajanta Caves

Hiranya Resorts
Ellora Road, Daultabad, Hiranya Valley, Near Daultabad Lake, Aurangabad
9.7 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotels Arts Executive 2.0 Star Hotel
New Samarth Nagar , Plot no 1, Nirala Bazar, Aurangabad
15.7 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Sai Rajmata Resort
Gut No.122, Karodigaon, Shirdi Highway , Near Bharat Petrol Pump Aurangabad, Aurangabad
16.9 km from Ajanta Caves

Great Punjab Hotel
22.0 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Vijay Residency 3.0 Star Hotel
35, Town Centre, CIDCO , opp MGM Hospital, Aurangabad
22.4 km from Ajanta Caves

Vivanta by Taj Aurangabad 3.5 Star Hotel
8-N-12 , CIDCO , Rauza Bagh, Dr. Rafiq Zakari Marg, Aurangabad
22.8 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel J P International 3.0 Star Hotel
Naralibag Road , beside Anjali Big Cinemas, Naralibag, Aurangabad
22.8 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Green Olive 3.0 Star Hotel
13/3 Bhagya Nagar, CBS Road, Near Baba Petrol Pump, Aurangabad
23.1 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Ashoka Executive 2.0 Star Hotel
Nagar Manmad Road, Opp.500 rooms, next to Axis Bank, Shirdi
23.1 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Rajwada 1.0 Star Hotel
11, Bhagya Nagar, CBS Road , near Baba Petrol-pump, Aurangabad
23.1 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Raviraj
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Marg , Adalat Road, Near Baba Petrol Pump, Aurangabad
23.2 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Panchavati & Vista Rooms 3.0 Star Hotel
Risala Road, Padampura , Near Youth Hostel, Aurangabad
23.2 km from Ajanta Caves

Hotel Kohinoor Plaza 2.0 Star Hotel
New Samartha Nagar Road , Opp. M.P Law College, Aurangabad
23.2 km from Ajanta Caves

How to Reach Ajanta Caves

By Road:

Ajanta is easily accessible from Aurangabad as well as from Jalgaon. Frequent public buses are available from the bus stands of Aurangabad as well as from Jalgaon. You can also use a hired cab/taxi from Aurangabad or Jalgaon. After leaving a train at Aurangabad or Jalgaon, you can easily get a public bus from the government bus stand.

By Train:

There is no railway station in Ajanta. The nearest Railway station is Jalgaon and after that Aurangabad Railway Station. It is a major Railway Station on Delhi-Mumbai and on Kolkata-Nagpur-Mumbai Railway Line. Number of trains are available from all over India to Jalgaon. Outside the railway station, lots of shared auto-rickshaws are available to the government bus stand.

By Air:

Nearest Airport is in Aurangabad, that is about 15 kms away from the main city of Aurangabad. You can hire a direct taxi to Ajanta from the airport itself. Otherwise, go to the government bus stand for the cheaper option.

Google Map For Ajanta Caves

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