Ajanta and Ellora Caves – The Great Heritage of Maharashtra
Located in Northern Maharashtra, Ajanta and Ellora Caves have an extraordinary appeal. This is why travelers from all over visit these caves throughout the year. Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad is well-known all over the world for the art and skill of Indian craftsmen. which is displayed through the architecture of the caves. There is a lot more to the paintings and sculptures which are seen in these caves. You can find complete travel guide of Ajanta and Ellora caves of Maharashtra in our special segment below:
The Ajanta Caves, located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, is one the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The caves have 29 Buddhist cave temples which were built in the 2nd century B.C. The caves represent both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. The Ajanta Caves thus have the best masterpieces of Buddhist art in India. The caves have paintings and sculptures which represent Indian art.
Locally known as ‘Verul Leni’, Ellora caves are located in the Sahyadri hills of Maharashtra. These caves are among the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire world. Ellora caves are known to represent the key essence of Indian rock-cut architecture. Ellora has a total of 34 caves including Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples which were built long back in the 6th and 9th centuries. The caves take back to the renaissance of Hinduism under the dynasties of Chalukya and Rashtrakuta.
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While Ellora caves are located in Aurangabad city in the Indian state of Maharashtra, Ajanta Caves are located near Jalgaon which is around 100 kms from Aurangabad city.
Aurangabad city is only 100 km from Ajanta and 30 km from Ellora. To reach Ajanta and Ellora caves, you can take a taxi or bus. The highway which connects Aurangabad to Mumbai is further well-connected to different cities of the country including Delhi, Indore, Bijapur, Udaipur and Jaipur.
Aurangabad is connected via rail to major cities like Pune and Mumbai. The Jalgaon Station is the nearest station to Ellora. After reaching the station, you can take any local transport for reaching the Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Aurangabad is the nearest airport to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The city is connected to airports of New Delhi and Mumbai.
Opening / closing timings of the Caves
Both the caves open for public at 9 am in the morning and close by sunset which is usually around 5.30 pm. While the Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays, the Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Entry to the caves is open on national holidays.
An exotic dance and music festival is organized every year at the Soneri Mahal in Aurangabad. The festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. At this festival, attendees can enjoy dance and music performances by known musicians and dancers from all over the world. The festival shows performances of famous artists such as Pandit Jasraj, Zakir Hussain, Ghulam Ali, Hari Haran and Hema Malini. The Ajanta Ellora Festival is one of the biggest festivals which present the best talents of the country. This gives an opportunity to all the visitors to enjoy such performances along with exploring the magnificent caves.
Entrance fees and charges
Entry fee for foreigners is Rs. 250 for foreigners. For Indians and citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries, the entry charge is Rs. 10. There is an additional charge of Rs. 25 in case you wish to use video camera inside the caves. Entry is free for children below the age of 15 years.
Best time to visit
Summers (March to May):
Temperature during the summer reason ranges between 37°C and 21 °C. The maximum temperature during this period reaches somewhere around 42 °C. April and may are the hottest months of the season.
Monsoons (June to September):
Heavy rains during the monsoons provide relief from the hot weather. The Caves remain open during the monsoons and it is a good period for exploring the Caves.
Winters (November to February):
Winters come with a pleasant climate where the minimum temperature drops down to 10 °C. It is the best time to visit Ajanta and Ellora Caves. While Ajanta and Ellora Caves can be visited all around the year but the best time to visit here is from October to March. The climate during this period is pleasant and the best for exploring the caves.
The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are counted among the best examples representing the arts and crafts of ancient India. Built long back, these caves are believed to be home to Jain, Hindu and Buddhist monks. The beauty and mystery of these caves leaves all the visitors spellbound. This makes travelers from all over the world visit here. So, if you too wish to have a look at the history of India’s art and culture, pay a visit to these caves this holiday season.