India is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as it has a culture and history that spans thousands of years. One of the most famous ancient historic sites and tourist destinations among them in India are the Ajanta Caves. These caves are rock-cut Buddhist Cave Monuments in the Aurangabad District in Maharashtra known for displaying historic Indian sculptures, architecture, and ancient Indian art.
This destination is around 60 km from Jalgaon and over 100 km from the city of Aurangabad. The caves are carved out of flood basalt rocks and there is a lot to explore for tourists at this site. Ajanta caves temple sites, sculptures, paintings, monasteries, and carvings showcase ancient India and the rise of Buddhism in India.
Located along the Waghur River, Ajanta Caves is an excellent example of India’s ancient history and is considered one of the iconic sites for exploring Buddhist Ajanta Caves architecture and religious art. Ajanta Caves' timings are 9 am to 5.30 pm for tourists at a nominal entry fee. There are many things to do in Ajanta Caves and exploration by tourists usually takes 2-3 hours.
Moving to the best time to visit Ajanta Caves, which is in the winter months as the weather is pleasant in this area, during this time of the year. Avoiding April and May makes sense as the temperature is very high during these months and the monsoon season also is not ideal because of sporadic episodes of high rainfall.
History of Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves' history spans centuries as they were built during different eras of history. These caves were constructed over a period of time as it took time to create such a large monument in Buddhist history. These caves were built in two distinct time periods which make up two eras of construction of these caves. The first caves were built in the Satavahana Period between the 2nd Century BCE and the 1st Century BCE. Later caves were built between the 4th Century and 7th Century CE and are also known as the Vakataka period of construction of these caves.
Places To Visit In And Around Ajanta Caves
1. Ajanta Caves
There are around 30 caves in a horseshoe shape around the banks of the Waghur River. The Ajanta Caves images, sculptures, cave paintings, historical sites, colorful architecture, and panoramic views are the highlights of this place. There are many viharas, monasteries, prayer halls, and paintings that are all worth exploring.
2. Ellora Caves
The Ajanta Caves Tour Packages include Ellora Caves as well. Ellora Caves are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and are rock-cut monastery-temple caves that depict historical artwork as well as Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist monuments.
3. Kailasanath Temple
One of the famous tourist sites in this area is the Kailasanath Temple which is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple was constructed in the 8th century BCE and there are hints of the Pallava architecture with depictions of Hindu Mythology in the architecture of this temple.
4. Bibi Ka Maqbara
Taj Mahal is a major monument and one of the most famous icons of India, and Bibi Ka Maqbara is called the Taj of the Deccan in Maharashtra. It is a mausoleum built by using marble rock on a square platform. It looks similar to the Taj Mahal but is a little smaller in scale.
5. Aurangabad Tourist Sites
Aurangabad is a small city in Maharashtra near Ajanta Caves and there is a lot worth visiting in the city. This includes Aurangabad Caves, Soneri Mahal, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Daulatabad Fort, Delhi Gate, and Panchakki Historical Place.
How to Reach Ajanta Caves
Maharashtra is one of the most beautiful and the most prosperous states in India with cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Aurangabad situated around it. Caves in Maharashtra depict its ancient history and the places to visit in Mumbai even include the famous Elephanta Caves near the city. The Ajanta Caves are nearly 12,00, 450, 17,00, and 11,00 km away from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively.
The closest airport to Ajanta Caves is theAurangabad Airport which is around 100 km away. The closest international airports for foreign tourists include airports in Pune and Mumbai. There are many domestic airports in India that can be used for part of the journey to Ajanta Caves.
Aurangabad-Mumbai round trip flight is available for around Rs. 6000 and takes a little more than an hour to travel between the two destinations.
Aurangabad - Hyderabad round trip flight is available for Rs. 7000 onwards.
Aurangabad-Delhi round trip flight is available starting at a price range of Rs. 6000.
The nearest train stations are the Aurangabad train station and the Jalgaon train station near the Ajanta Caves. Both these train stations are well connected to the Indian rail network and there are trains from all major cities in Maharashtra and India that either halt or reach these train stations. The Jalgaon Train Station is 78 km from Ajanta Caves and the Aurangabad Train Station is around 98 km from these Ajanta Caves.
The Ajanta Caves Bus Stop is the nearest road transport destination to these caves. The journey to these caves must include some amount of road travel and the nearest cities by road from Ajanta Caves are Jalgaon and Aurangabad. By Road, tourists can visit the Ajanta Caves by the Mumbai-Kolkata Highway Road or Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai Highway.