If you are amazed by the art and architecture of ancient India, you should definitely visit the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra. These caves are a group of 34 rock-cut temples and monasteries that date back to the 6th and 10th centuries CE. They are located near the village of Ellora, about 30 kilometers from the Aurangabad city center.
The caves are divided into three sections: the Buddhist section (caves 1 to 12), the Hindu section (caves 13 to 29), and the Jain section (caves 30 to 34). The caves are known for their magnificent sculptures, paintings, and carvings that depict various aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction in Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad), and visit during Aurangabad to Ellora Caves One day tour. Here is everything you need to know about the Ellora Caves.
Distance From City Center Location of Ellora Caves
The Ellora Caves are located near the village of Ellora, about 30 kilometers from the Aurangabad city center and 11 kilometers from the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple. The caves are situated on a basalt hill that overlooks the Elaganga river.
Timing/Entry Fees Ellora Caves
The Ellora Caves are open to visitors every day except Tuesdays from 9 am to 5:30 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 Ellora Caves
You can reach the Ellora 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 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 an hour and a half.
Things to Do/See Ellora Caves
The Ellora 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, Shiva Parvati, Shiva Nataraja, Shiva Lingodbhava, Shiva Gajasura Samhara, Shiva Tripurantaka, Vishnu Dashavatara, Vishnu Narasimha, Vishnu Varaha, Rama Sita, Krishna Balarama, Krishna Kaliya Mardana, Krishna Govardhan Dhari, Mahavira, Parshvanatha, Bahubali, 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, Shiva Parvati wedding, Shiva Ganga descent, Vishnu Anantashayana, Rama Sita exile, Krishna Rasalila, etc.
- Learn about the architecture: The caves have a unique architecture that reflects the influence of different styles like Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism, etc. The caves have different features like chaitya halls, viharas, kailasas, mandapas, gopurams, pillars, arches, windows, etc. that are decorated with intricate carvings and paintings.
- Visit the Kailasa Temple: You can visit the Kailasa Temple (cave 16), which is the most famous and impressive cave among all. It is a colossal structure that was carved out of a single rock and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world and the finest example of Indian art and architecture. It has various elements like a gateway, a courtyard, a shrine, a hall, a tower, etc. that are adorned with elaborate sculptures and paintings.
- Visit the nearby attractions: You can visit some of the nearby attractions that are located close to the caves like Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple (11 km), Daulatabad Fort (15 km), Bibi Ka Maqbara (30 km), Aurangabad Caves (35 km), Ajanta Caves (100 km), etc.
Significance of Ellora Caves
The Ellora Caves are not only a tourist destination but also a spiritual and cultural landmark of Maharashtra and India. They represent the harmony and tolerance of the different religions that coexisted peacefully in this region for centuries. They also reflect the diversity and richness of the Indian culture and art that influenced many other regions and communities in India and abroad. The caves are a testimony to the creativity and devotion of the ancient artists and craftsmen who carved these wonders 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 three to four 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 Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple (11 km), Daulatabad Fort (15 km), Bibi Ka Maqbara (30 km), Aurangabad Caves (35 km), Ajanta Caves (100 km), etc.
The Ellora Caves are a must-visit place for anyone who loves ancient art and architecture. They offer a unique opportunity to witness the glory and grace of 34 rock-cut temples and monasteries that showcase the divine energy and light of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. 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 Ellora Caves.