A resultant of removing 20,000 tones of rock, came into existence the famous rock cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora. Contrived by generations of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain Monks, who lived, worked and worshipped in the caves, these rich and astonishing hand-hewn cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora are popular for their carvings and structures that are said to be the beginning of the Classical Indian Art. With the retreat of Buddhism in the 5th century, the caves were gradually abandoned and one never got a trace of it for 13 centuries. Ranked as one of the most spectacular specimen of ancient India, these caves are true-life galleries of Lord Buddha and Jain Trithankaras depicted well through sculptures, paintings and rock carvings.
A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ajanta and Ellora are not the natural caves but are man-made temples cut from a massive granite hill rocks. Built by monks, by chiseling out intricate and colossal statues, carved pillars, and meditation rooms, these famous caves are a must see for tourists coming to luxuriate in the glory of Incredible India. While driving down a tree-shaded road one can sight array of brown hills with sunlight falling sharply over it making it more eye capturing, compelling you to capture the moment in your lens forever.
Located near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, nestling in the inner folds of Sahyadri Hills in the shape of a gigantic horseshoe, portraying the life story of Buddha from 200 B C to 650 AD, the Ajanta Caves are truly an architecture marvel and an impressive piece of artistry. A total of 29 caves have been marked numerically in chronological order, festooned with rich carvings of Buddhist architecture. They are the real treat for eyes. The moment you will enter these rock-cut caves, a peaceful atmosphere will descend upon you. Notice the prodigious curves in arch gateways that show off the intricate art of the workmen even from a distance. The highlights are the carved sculptures chiseled out of rocks that narrates the stories of Lord Buddha, from the Jatakas, an affluent aggregation of Buddhist tales. Images of nymphs and princesses and the famous Padmapani, alleviation of four deers sharing a common head and also notice the exquisite wall paintings that are the most celebrated and worth sighting.
Visit this cave during the monsoons that double the beauty with its lush greenery and jaw dropping waterfalls. The caves of Ajanta are easily approachable, as it is located just 107 km from Aurangabad.
It's Rocking at Ellora Caves
Meanwhile, near Ajanta lie the 30-odd caves of Ellora which include Mahayana Buddhist, Hindu and Jain art work. The 6th century Buddhist monks who first arrived here, worked on the most accessible part of the hill. Sixteen Hindu caves can also be seen here. A little further away, there are five Jain caves. However, the most startling achievement in Ellora is Cave 16, better known as the Kailash Temple or Kailashnath. Kailash is a freestanding monolith created. It is quite amazing to know that it took 150 years to build and three million cubic meters of rock was displaced. Kailash has been called the most astounding single work of art ever rendered in India. Faith created Kailash, but even the most die-hard disbeliever cannot help but be moved by its majestic power. The best time to visit the Ellora caves is during the month of March when the annual Ellora festival of Classical dance and music is held inside the caves. Located at a mere distance of 26 kms from Aurangabad, these caves make a desirous holiday destination.
These two sites of Ajanta and Ellora make a celebrated pilgrim destination. One must not miss these caves that leads us to take a closer look of the ancient India. Take a one and a half day break from Mumbai or fly directly from Delhi to visit these architectural illustrations that through ages have been a prime attractions for the humans, something everybody should experience at least once in a lifetime.