Ajanta is 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu, Jain and Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. Amazingly cut into slope rock in no place are the Ajanta and Ellora caverns. Both are a significant UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are 34 caverns at Ellora dating from between the sixth and eleventh hundreds of years AD, and 29 caverns at Ajanta going back to between the second century BC and sixth century AD. The caverns at Ajanta are for the most part Buddhist, while the caverns at Ellora are a blend of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain. Assets for the development of the caverns were given by different rulers.
The staggering Kailasa Temple (otherwise called the Kailash Temple), which structures Cave 16 at Ellora, is without a doubt the most renowned fascination. The sanctuary is committed to Lord Shiva and his holy residence at Mount Kailash. Its tremendous size covers double the region of the Pantheon in Athens, and is one and a half times as high! The life-size elephant figures are a feature.
The most unimaginable thing about the Ajanta and Ellora caverns is that they were made by hand, with just a mallet and etch. There are different cavern edifices in India, however these are certainly the most dynamite.
Northern Maharashtra, around 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Mumbai.
How to Arrive
The nearest railways stations are in Aurangabad for the Ellora caverns (45 minutes away) and the “Banana city” of Jalgaon (as the region contributes approximately two third of Maharashtra’s banana production), for the Ajanta caverns (1.5 hours away). Travel time from Mumbai to Aurangabad by Indian Railways train is 6-7 hours. Here are the alternatives.
There’s likewise an air terminal in Aurangabad, so it’s conceivable to fly from numerous urban communities in India.
Utilizing Aurangabad as a base, it’s generally helpful to enlist a taxi and drive between the two cavern locales. It takes around 2 hours to get from Ellora to Ajanta.
Ashoka Tours and Travels, situated on Station Road in Aurangabad, is well known and gives vehicle recruit to both Ellora and Ajanta. Contingent upon the sort of vehicle, rates start from 1,250 rupees for Ellora and 2,250 rupees for Ajanta.
Then again, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation conducts reasonable every day guided transport visits to the Ajanta and Ellora caverns from Aurangabad. The transports are agreeable cooled Volvo transports. The visits run independently – one goes to Ajanta and the other to Ellora – and can be reserved ahead of time at the Central Bus Stand and CIDCO Bus Stand.
- The Ajanta bus tour departs from the Central Bus Stand at 7.30 a.m. and arrives back at 5.20 p.m. The cost is 595 rupees per person.
- The Ellora bus tour departs from the Central Bus Stand at 8.30 a.m and arrives back at 5.30 p.m. It includes Daultabad Fort, Bibi Ka Maqbara and Panchakki. The cost is 215 rupees per person.
Alternatively, Solo travellers those who prefer to travel independently, they can easily take a public Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus from the Central Bus Stand in Aurangabad to Ellora (D0825) and Ajanta (D0647). It’s worth considering, as you’ll be able to get there before the tour buses do. The buses run frequently but they’re not air-conditioned.
When to Visit
The best time to visit the caves is from November to March, when it’s cooler and dry.
The Ellora caves are open from sunrise until sunset (around 5.30 p.m.), daily except Tuesdays. The Ajanta caves open from 9am until 5pm, daily except Mondays. Both caves are open on national holidays. However, try to avoid visiting them then (as well as on weekends) as the crowds can be overwhelming and you won’t have a peaceful experience.
Entrance Fees and Charges
Visiting both the Ajanta and Ellora caves is costly for foreigners. The sites require separate tickets and the price was increased to 600 rupees in August 2018. Indians pay only 40 rupees per ticket at each site. Children younger than 15 years are free at both places.
Ajanta and Ellora Visitor Centers
Two new visitor centers opened at Ajanta and Ellora in 2013. The visitor centers provide information about the two heritage sites using audiovisual media.
The Ajanta Visitor Center is the larger of the two. It has five museum halls with replicas of the four main caves (1, 2,16 and 17). The Ellora Visitor Center has a replica of the Kailasa Temple. Both visitor centers also have restaurants, amphitheaters and auditoriums, shops, exhibition space, and parking.
Sadly, the visitor centers are located some distance away from the caves and the replicas have failed to draw the expected number of tourists. In August 2018, Maharashtra Tourism announced that substantial funding had been allocated to enhance them and provide a better experience.
Where to Stay
Hotel Kailas is located right opposite the Ellora caves. It’s a relaxing, tranquil place with stone walls and a scenic landscape, albeit simply furnished accommodations. Rates are 2,300 rupees for a non air-conditioned room, 3,500 rupees for an air-conditioned cottage, and 4,000 rupees for an air-conditioned cottage facing the caves. Tax is additional. The hotel has plenty of amenities for guests including a restaurant, internet access, a library and games. You can also go paragliding.
If you prefer to stay in Aurangabad, Hotel Panchavati is a clean and comfortable budget option near the railway station and bus stand.
Should You Visit Ajanta or Ellora?
While the Ajanta caves have some of India’s most sophisticated ancient paintings, the Ellora caves are renowned for their extraordinary architecture. Both the caves have sculptures.
Don’t have time or money to visit both caves? Ellora receives about twice as many tourists as Ajanta, as it’s more accessible. If your itinerary forces you to choose between the two sites, base you decision on whether you’re more interested in the art at Ajanta, or architecture at Ellora. Also take into consideration the fact that Ajanta has an outstanding setting overlooking a gorge along the Waghora River, making it more enjoyable to explore.
- You can get an excellent view and perspective of inside the Kailasa Temple at Ellora by climbing up the hill around it.
- When visiting Ajanta, ask your driver to drop you at the viewpoint and meet you at the car park. Walk downhill from the viewpoint and enter at cave 8. From there, walk right to the end and start at cave 28. This will enable you to see nearly half the caves without the crowds.
- Bring a torch with you to the caves as many of them are quite dark and lighting is poor.
- Try to reach the caves before 10 a.m. to beat the crowds and tour buses.
Dangers and Annoyances
Security was increased at the Ellora caves in 2013, following incidents of tourists being sexually harassed by groups of young Indian guys. This has been effective in improving safety. However, tourists still need to be aware of harassment from hawkers and touts that charge inflated prices.
Maintenance and cleanliness has improved at both the Ajanta and Ellora caves in recent years. The caves are now being looked after by a private company under the Indian government’s “Adopt a Heritage Site” program.
A three-day Ellora Ajanta International Festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism each year. It features some of India’s most distinguished musicians and and dancers. In 2016, the festival took place in October. However, dates for the next festival are uncertain and yet to be announced.
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