Caves

Ajanta Cave (Aurangabad)

Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave Anjanta Cave

         Ajanta Caves are one of the most magnificent Buddhist caves in the whole of India. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is also a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India. The caves hide within its hold, paintings and sculptures which are considered masterpieces around the globe. The Ajanta caves are a string of 30 caves, which were built in two phases between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves attained the name from a nearby village named Ajanta located about 12 km. Ajanta Caves are located in Aurangabad District of Maharashtra State, India.

         These caves were discovered by an Army Officer in the Madras Regiment of the British Army in 1819 during one of his hunting expeditions. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 104 kms. From Aurangabad; a few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock, are 30 caves overlooking a gorge,each forming a room in the hill carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. The tourist destination attracts around 3.30 lakh visitors annually, of which at least 10% are foreigners mainly from Buddhist-influenced countries like Japan, Korea and China.

         The Ajanta site comprises thirty caves cut into the side of a cliff which rises above a meander in the Waghora River. Today the caves are reached by a road which runs along a terrace mid-way up the cliff, but each cave was once linked by a stairway to the edge of the water. The first phase of the construction was building the sanctuaries, known as the Chaitya-grihas, in the canyons of the Waghora River. This phase of construction of the caves 9, 10, 12 and 15A was probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty. The second period of the construction was during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, most of which were Viharas or monasteries with a sanctuary in the structure’s rear centre. After the end of Harisena’s rule, the caves were abandoned and in the intervening centuries, they were completely forgotten and overrun by forests.

         The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique. The paintings on the walls, illustrate the events in the life of Prince Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and in the more popular Jatakas stories pertaining to Buddha's previous incarnation. Incidentally they contain the scenes of semi-mythological history, the royal court and popular life of the ancient times, as told in romances and plays. Some pictures recall the Greek and Roman compositions and proportions, few late resemble to Chinese manners to some extent. But majority belongs to a phase, which is purely Indian, as they are found nowhere else. The main aim behind the construction of the Ajanta Caves was to provide a dwelling and praying place for the Buddhist monks, who were dedicated towards the mission of spreading the principles of Buddhism throughout the world. All of them have been carved with precision and adorned with exquisite architectural details. The sculptures seen here seem to be the result of superb craftsmanship.

Ajanta Caves Timing and Entry Fees

The caves remain open on all days except Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.

Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.

Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head (children up to 15 years free)

The season extends all round the year. Although the best season to visit Ajanta and Ellora is from October to March.

How to Reach

By Road Nearest RailWay Station Nearest Airport Google Map
1. Distance between Aurangabad - Ajanta Caves 104 kms. Jalgaon Aurangabad Map
2. Distance between Jalgaon - Ajanta Caves 60 kms. Map
3. Distance between Mumbai - Ajanta Caves 463 kms
4. Distance between Pune - Ajanta Caves 332 kms.
5. Distance between Nagpur - Ajanta Caves 455 kms.