If you are mesmerized by the beauty and mystery of ancient caves and their paintings, you should definitely visit the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. These caves are a group of 29 rock-cut caves that date back to the 2nd century BCE to the 6th century CE. They are located near the village of Ajanta, about 100 kilometers from the Aurangabad city center.
The caves are famous for their exquisite paintings and sculptures that depict various aspects of Buddhism and its teachings. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction in Sambhaji Nagar(Aurangabad), visit during Sambhaji Nagar to Ajanta Caves one day trip. Here is everything you need to know about the Ajanta Caves.
Distance From City Center Location Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves are located near the village of Ajanta, about 100 kilometers from the Aurangabad city center and 30 kilometers from the Jalgaon railway station. The caves are situated in a horseshoe-shaped bend of the Waghora river.
Timing/Entry Fees Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves are open to visitors every day except Mondays from 9 am to 5 pm. The entry fee is Rs. 40 per person for Indians and Rs. 600 per person for foreigners. There is no camera fee or parking fee.
How to Reach Ajanta Caves
You can reach the Ajanta Caves by road, rail, or air. The nearest railway station is Jalgaon, which is well connected to major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, etc. From there, you can take a bus or a taxi to the caves, which will take about an hour. The nearest airport is Aurangabad, which has domestic flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc. From there, you can take a cab or a bus to the caves, which will take about three hours.
Things to Do/See Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves have many attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the things to do and see at the caves are:
- Admire the paintings: The caves have a stunning collection of paintings that cover the walls and ceilings of most of the caves. The paintings are done in different colors like red, yellow, green, blue, etc. and depict various scenes like Buddha’s life stories, Jataka tales, Bodhisattvas, goddesses, animals, mythical creatures, floral motifs, geometric patterns, etc. Some of the notable paintings are Buddha’s temptation by Mara (cave 1), Buddha’s renunciation (cave 2), Buddha’s first sermon (cave 4), Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana (cave 16), etc.
- Explore the sculptures: The caves have a variety of sculptures that showcase the artistic skills and religious beliefs of the ancient people. The sculptures are made of basalt rock and depict various themes like Buddha in different poses, Bodhisattvas, goddesses, animals, mythical creatures, etc. Some of the notable sculptures are Buddha in preaching pose with a halo (cave 1), Bodhisattva Padmapani with a lotus (cave 2), Bodhisattva Vajrapani with a thunderbolt (cave 2), Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with a thousand arms (cave 4), etc.
- Learn about the architecture: The caves have a unique architecture that reflects the influence of different styles like Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, etc. The caves have different features like chaitya halls, viharas, stupas, pillars, arches, windows, etc. that are decorated with intricate carvings and paintings.
- Visit the nearby attractions: You can visit some of the nearby attractions that are located close to the caves like Ellora Caves (100 km), Daulatabad Fort (110 km), Bibi Ka Maqbara (120 km), Aurangabad Caves (125 km), Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple (130 km), etc.
Significance of Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves are not only a tourist destination but also a spiritual and cultural landmark of Maharashtra and India. They represent the evolution and development of the Buddhist art and culture that flourished in this region for more than eight centuries. They also reflect the diversity and harmony of the different sects and schools of Buddhism that coexisted peacefully in this region. The caves are a testimony to the creativity and devotion of the ancient artists and monks who carved these masterpieces out of solid rock.
Q: How long does it take to explore the caves?
A: It depends on your interest and pace but generally it takes about four to five hours to explore the caves.
Q: Is there any cafeteria or restaurant near the caves?
A: Yes there are some cafeterias and restaurants near the caves that offer snacks and meals at reasonable prices. Some of them are Cafe Coffee Day (10 km), Hotel Atithi (15 km), Hotel Yash Executive (20 km), etc.
Q: What are some other places to visit near the caves?
A: Some other places to visit near the caves are Ellora Caves (100 km), Daulatabad Fort (110 km), Bibi Ka Maqbara (120 km), Aurangabad Caves (125 km), Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple (130 km), etc.
The Ajanta Caves are a must-visit place for anyone who loves ancient art and culture. They offer a unique opportunity to witness the beauty and mystery of 29 rock-cut caves that showcase the divine energy and light of Buddhism and its teachings. They also offer a chance to appreciate the history and culture of the different rulers and dynasties who built and patronized these caves over centuries. So if you are planning a trip to Aurangabad or nearby areas don’t miss out on visiting the Ajanta Caves.