Hidden from modern civilization and undisturbed until 1819, the rock-cut Ajanta Ellora Caves were accidentally rediscovered by a British Army officer, John Smith, who was intrigued by the entrance to the cave like structures and crossed the Waghora River in the vicinity to reach the caves. Soon, the sites were excavated and the news of discovery of these caves spread like wild fire making it an instant hit among European travelers.
Ajanta Caves are one of the most impressive Buddhist monuments in India. Though the caves are over 2,000 years old, the Buddha statues had been added close 600 years later. They are located just outside the village of Ajintha in Aurangabad district of the state of Maharashtra.
Ajanta caves were listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1983.
The Ajanta caves are home to paintings and sculptures that depict heavy influence of Buddhist philosophy and religious teachings of the Buddha. Various incidents from the life of Gautam Buddha and the Jataka Tales are represented and recreated on the walls of these caves. Scenes from the royal court of the respective eras are also painted.
Through his life, Buddha was against the idea of sculpting and painting images of him. He preached that life was a process through which one must overcome desire in order to attain salvation or nirvana. However, after Buddha’s death, his followers who wanted to worship him, decided to paint his images so that they had something to hold on to while spreading the faith and teachings of the Buddha.
It is believed that several Buddhist monks spent a significant amount of time at the Ajanta caves during the monsoons as they were forbidden from traveling during that particular period of the year. This was the time when the monks put their creativity and time to use and painted the walls of the caves.
Towards the end of the reign of Harisena, these caves were abandoned and eventually forgotten through the centuries. The dense forests covered these beautiful sites, enveloping them and keeping them hidden for hundreds of years.
Best time to Visit: October till March
Ajanta Ellora Tour Packages
Ajanta Ellora Caves are located some 400 km from Mumbai and 104 km from Aurangabad, the nearest city. Our Ajanta Ellora Tour Packages start from Mumbai hotel / airport and take you to Aurangabad, in comfort of car. From here we will visit the famous Ajanta and Ellora Caves and other monuments of interest. Our tour will bring you back to Mumbai in comfort and we will drop you at your hotel or airport.