If you are fond of exploring ancient caves and marveling at their art and architecture, you should definitely visit the Aurangabad Caves in Maharashtra. These caves are a group of 12 Buddhist rock-cut caves that date back to the 6th and 7th centuries CE. They are located on a hill overlooking the city of Aurangabad and offer a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. The caves are known for their exquisite sculptures, paintings, and carvings that depict various aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism. Here is everything you need to know about the Aurangabad Caves. visit during Aurangabad Local sightseeing.
Location of Aurangabad Caves
The Aurangabad Caves are situated on the Sihyachal ranges, about 2 kilometers north of Bibi Ka Maqbara and 5 kilometers from the Aurangabad city center. The caves are divided into three groups: the western group (caves 1 to 5), the eastern group (caves 6 to 9), and the northern group (caves 10 to 12). The western group is the oldest and the most impressive, while the eastern group is the largest and the most elaborate. The northern group is the smallest and the least explored.
Timing/Entry Fees Aurangabad Caves
The Aurangabad Caves are open to visitors every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The entry fee is Rs. 10 per person for Indians and Rs. 100 per person for foreigners. There is no camera fee or parking fee.
How to Reach Aurangabad Caves
You can reach the Aurangabad Caves by road, rail, or air. The nearest railway station is Aurangabad, which is well connected to major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, etc. From there, you can take a bus, auto-rickshaw, or taxi to the caves, which will take about 15 minutes. 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 20 minutes.
Things to Do/See Aurangabad Caves
The Aurangabad 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 sculptures: The caves have a remarkable collection 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), Durga killing Mahishasura (cave 3), Ganesha with his consorts (cave 7), etc.
- Explore the paintings: The caves have some traces of paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of some 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, floral motifs, geometric patterns, etc. Some of the notable paintings are Buddha’s birth (cave 2), Buddha’s enlightenment (cave 4), Buddha’s first sermon (cave 6), 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. Some of the notable architectural elements are horseshoe-shaped windows (cave 1), octagonal pillars (cave 3), carved ceilings (cave 4), domed stupas (cave 7), etc.
Significance of Aurangabad Caves
The Aurangabad Caves are not only a tourist destination but also a source of knowledge and inspiration for the people who are interested in ancient art and culture. They reveal the rich heritage and legacy of the Buddhist and Hindu traditions that flourished in this region for centuries. They also reflect the diversity and harmony of the different sects and schools of Buddhism and Hinduism that coexisted peacefully. The caves are a testimony to the creativity and devotion of the ancient artists and craftsmen 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 two to three 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 (1 km), Hotel Atithi (2 km), Hotel Yash Executive (3 km), etc.
Q: What are some other places to visit near the caves?
A: Some other places to visit near the caves are Bibi Ka Maqbara (2 km), Panchakki (4 km), Daulatabad Fort (15 km), Ellora Caves (30 km), Ajanta Caves (100 km), etc.
The Aurangabad Caves are a must-visit place for anyone who loves ancient art and architecture. They offer a unique opportunity to witness the splendid achievements and contributions of the Buddhist and Hindu civilizations that enriched the Indian culture and history. They also offer a chance to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the ancient sculptures and paintings that mesmerize the visitors with their charm and grace. So if you are planning a trip to Aurangabad or nearby areas don’t miss out on visiting the Aurangabad Caves.