The rock cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora lies in the city of Aurangabad in
Maharashtra in India. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora are one of the most
amazing archaeological sites in India. These are not the natural sites but
the man made caves, which have been built by cutting the huge granite
hillside. According to the historical evidences caves were built by the
Hindu, Jain and Buddhist monks, who stayed and mediated here for the longer
period of time. Ellora caves start from the point from where the Ajanta
caves ends. Ajanta caves are older than the Ellora caves. Each cave at
Ajanta and Ellora has the different story to tell. Tourists can make a visit
to this place at any time during the year.
The caves of Ajanta and Ellora were somehow forgotten, but were
rediscovered by the group of British officers in 1845 when they were
haunting in the Deccan Plateau. While haunting one of the official
discovered the horseshoe rock from the distance. Their curiosity aroused to
explore the place. Soon they discovered several caves behind the bushes and
informed to the government. The Archaeologist began excavating the caves.
The caves also finds mention in the writings of the Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese
pilgrim, who visited India between the 629 and 645 AD. The caves provides
the finest example from the Chalukya, Kalachuri, and Rashtrakuta periods.
These caves are located near the ancient trade route between Ujjain in
Madhya Pradesh and the west coast. The caves were roughly constructed
somewhere between the 200 BC and 650. It is also believed that these caves
are the handiwork of the priests and the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monks who
frequently visited the place.
Architectural Significance :
The rock cut caves of the Ajanta and Ellora are the architectural marvel
that also finds place in World Heritage list. Both the caves of Ajanta and
Ellora are cut out from the volcanic lava of the Deccan plateau. There are
total of 29 caves in Ajanta. The caves houses some of the wonderful well
preserved paintings, which include two great Boddhisattbvas, Padmapani, and
Avalokiteshvara. The most interesting among them are the Jataka tales that
illustrate the diverse stories related to the previous incarnations of the
Buddha. Some of the caves in Ajanta boosts of some of the most divine
sculptures. The flying apsara and the image of Buddha in the cave number 17
is simply amazing.
There are total of 34 caves in Ellora, which houses the elaborate facades
and exquisitely adorned interiors. The 12 caves which lies in the southward
direction are Buddhist caves, 17 in the middle are the Hindu caves while 5
in the north direction are the Jain caves. The sculpture in the Buddhist
caves beautifully presents the nobility and grace of Lord Buddha. Tourists
are recommended to make a visit to the Kailasa temple in the cave 16. It is
dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the world's largest monolith with the
gateway, pavilion, sanctum, assembly hall and tower all cut out of one
single rock. Ellora caves also contains the image of Vishwakarma, who was
the patron saint of Hindu craftsmen.
Tourists activities :
Tourists can spend time by indulging themselves in the photography. As the
Ajanta caves faces eastwards so the best time to take pictures is the
morning time. The caves of Ellora faces westward so its good to capture the
pictures in the noon time. Apart from photography you can take the leisure
time venturing in the clipped lawns. Tourists can also make a visit to the
Siddhadtha Gardens and Bibi Ka Maqbara - the Mausoleum of Akbar's Queen.
Ellora Festival :
Tourists can also be a part of the Ellora festival, held in the month of
March every year. You can enjoy the classical programmes performed by the
prominent artists. The festival is organized by the Maharashtra Tourism