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  • Entrance Fee:
    Indian- INR 35, Foreigner- INR 550
  • Opening Hour:
    09:00 am to 06:00 pm
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  • LocationAurangabad

  • Opening Hours 09:00 am to 06:00 pm

  • Entrance Fee Indian- INR 35, Foreigner- INR 550

  • Camera Fee

Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad

The Ajanta Caves are one of the first World Heritage Sites in India. These are 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves with Buddha figures depicting Jataka stories, paintings, and sculptures. Richly decorated paintings and frescoes similar to Sigiriya Paintings highlight the charm of these ancient caves. Excavations were made in different periods (circa second century to sixth century AD). These caves were discovered in 1819 by a military officer of the British Army Madras Regiment while hunting. The Archeological Survey of India defines these monuments as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting ." The caves were also included in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1983.

Here are details about Ajanta Cave in Aurangabad

What to explore in Ajanta?

Featuring some of the finest paintings and sculptures, Cave 1 and Cave 2 must not be missed during your Ajanta tour

Cave 1: This is one of the latest excavated caves. The murals and carvings here reflect immense grandeur and are believed to have been constructed under Raja Harishena's rule. Cave 1 has a heavy ornamental façade and is chiseled with finely-cut sculptures. These sculptures depict the life of Buddha. The porch ceilings have faded murals, and there are three doorways. The doorways have windows and are built, perhaps for lighting. The walls of the caves are 40 ft long and 20 ft high. The rear wall has a carving of Lord Buddha sitting with his hands in the Dharma Chakra Pravartana Mudra. The left, rear, and right walls have cells.

Cave 2: Cave 2 is adjacent to Cave 1 and is known for its paintings done on the walls, ceilings, and pillars. These paintings look similar to those in Cave 1 but are better in style and detail. The carving in its façade is, however, different from Cave 1. The front porch has vestibules. Many painters have copied the paintings in Cave 2. They mainly narrate the life of Buddha before Bodhisattva. These two are similar to Cave One's photographs, which reflect royalty and empowered women. Four colonnades support the hall's ceiling with rock beams on both ends.

Cave 4: As per the Archeological Survey of India, an inscription shows that Cave 4 was built in the 6th century AD and was a gift from someone named Mathura. The cave has a sanctum, a verandah, and a hall. Inside the sanctuary is the sculpture of Buddha, preaching to his followers.

Ajanta Caves history

According to archaeologists, the construction of the Ajanta caves was agreed to have been done in two separate phases - the first during the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE and the second in succeeding centuries. These were constructed for three purposes: education, residence, and spirituality. Also, their history has been divided into two periods: Satavahana and Vakataka.

The caves came into being during the Satavahana period. Caves 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15A are believed to be the oldest ones, which were constructed between 100 BCE and 100 CE. There were perhaps more caves built during this period. The caves built during the Satavahana period lacked precision and mainly focused on Buddha while narrating the tales of his life.

The second stage was the Vakataka period, which started in the 5th century. It is believed that the construction of the caves was mostly in function between 460 CE to 480 CE. About 20 temples were constructed, which were more complex than the Satavahana ones. The caves built during the second state were 1-8, 11, and 14-29. The focus was also on reconstructing or renovating older caves. After the downfall of the Vakataka dynasty, these caves were abandoned.

Cave number 10 was unexpectedly discovered by a British officer named John Smith on the 28th of April 1819, as he was out hunting. According to the British officer, he was standing at the entrance, and some local people worshiped the fire. He also inscribed his name along with the date on the walls, standing on a 5 ft. high pile. With time, these caves were exposed, and people started recognizing their structure and representations.

Later, in 1948, the Bombay Cave Temple Commission was introduced to clean up the site, and in 1861, the Archeological Survey of India focused on the caves. Later, the Nizam of Hyderabad commissioned the path so that people could visit here. Since then, Ajanta Caves have gained popularity. The improvements to the caves and the cleaning and maintenance of the facade have been carried out precisely. Therefore, these excellent monuments have gained a fresh lease of life.

Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad Timings

  • The Ajanta Caves remain open all days of the week except Monday.
  • The caves can be visited by tourists between 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM.

Entry Fees for Ajanta Caves

  • The entry fee for Indians is INR 40 per head and INR 600 per head for foreign tourists.
  • There is no entry fee for an Indian child under 15 years of age.

Ajanta Caves Paintings

The Jataka stories are primarily shown in the paintings in the Ajanta caves. These are Buddhist stories that detail the Buddha's earlier incarnations. The fables and legends of Hindu and Jain literature also contain ancient values and cultural traditions that are incorporated into these fables.

Ajanta Caves Architecture

The basalt collected from volcanic rocks was used to construct the Ajanta Caves. These rocks were accumulated as a result of ancient volcanic eruptions. As fissures also appeared during the procedure, the artisans carefully planned their carving of the granite. The artisan's sculpted pillars, roofs, and idols out of the rocks.

How to reach Ajanta Caves

By Air: The Chikkalthana airport, also known as Aurangabad airport, is located around 106 km from Ajanta. Travelers can board direct flights from significant places such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. There are stopover flights from other towns and cities as well.

By Rail: Jalgaon city, about 56.3 kilometers from Ajanta Caves, is the nearest railway Junction. The Jalgaon Junction is well connected to major cities of India like Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jhansi, Goa, and Varanasi.

By Road: Ajanta caves can easily be reached by taking the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses. These buses take off from Aurangabad Central Bus Station to the north of Siddharth Garden and the Zoo and drop you off at the Ajanta Caves entrance road.

How many caves are there in Ajanta Caves?

There are 30 caves in Ajanta Caves. These caves are among the most exquisite constructions of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings, and sculptures.

Ajanta Caves interesting facts

  • Ajanta Caves were excavated on a rock surface that looks like a horseshoe.
  • At the entrance of the first of the Ajanta caves, you will be greeted by a tall image of the Buddha.
  • It is believed that the Buddhist monks embedded their creativity and painting on the walls of the caves as, during the monsoons, they couldn’t travel.
  • The painting style found in Ajanta Caves is believed to have inspired painting styles in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

Where to Stay near Ajanta Caves

Enjoy a happy stay near Ajanta Caves, as there is no lack of hotels around Ajanta in the city. Some of the popular places to stay near Ajanta Caves among travelers are -

  • The Imperia Residence
  • Buldana Urban Residency Club
  • Mahendra Hotel
  • Hotel Aaditya Palace
  • Tanarika Resort
  • Hotel Royal Palace

Places to eat near Ajanta Caves

Several eateries are available near Ajanta Caves, where you can satiate your taste buds. You can easily find multiple restaurants and street food outlets offering scrumptious meals. Along with this, you can also enjoy fine dining at the in-house dining outlets of the hotel or resort.

  • MTDC Ajanta Caves
  • Foodwallah
  • Vihara Restaurant.

Nearby Tourist Places to Ajanta Caves

The beautiful regions of Ajanta offer many things to explore. Plan a tour and visit nearby attractions such as:

If you are planning to visit Ajanta caves, then you must check out our Aurangabad tour packages.


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