Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travel Tips for visitors to Ajanta Ellora caves Aurangabad

At the outset it should be mentioned that you should not try to pack in a visit to the Ajanta caves at the same time as the Ellora caves. You should keep enough time to explore the grandeur of the two caves separately.

Visiting Ellora Caves
The Ellora caves are about 1 hour’s drive from the city of Aurangabad. It is home to not just Buddhist caves but also to Hindu and Jain caves, with around 34 caves in totality. You can take the service of a guide or explore the caves on your own.

The one cave you should not miss is Cave No.16 which is considered to be the main tourist attraction. It was so designed as to replicate the majestic home of Lord Shiva on Mount Kailash. In addition to sculptures of deities and figures in various erotic poses, this cave also has human and animal figures portraying scenes from the two major epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayan. The carvings in the Jain and Buddhist caves are focused on meditative poses.

Days when Ellora Caves are open to the public: Wednesday to Monday
Timings of Ellora Caves: 7a.m/ to 5.30p.m. 

Types of caves at Ellora
  • Buddhist caves: 1 to 12
  • Hindu caves: 13 to 29
  • Jain caves: 30 to 34
Distance between Aurangabad and Ellora caves: 29kms.

Visiting Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta caves are situated a little further away and take an extra hour. There are about 30 caves carved from the rocks. Do stop to soak in the picturesque view from the top, from where you can see the entire vista of the gorge and the surrounding Sahyadri hillside. If you visit during the monsoon, there is abundant greenery and you can even get a glimpse of waterfalls from the top of the trek up.

The paintings within the Ajanta caves are narrative in nature, depicting various aspects of the life of Buddha. This includes the famous Jataka tales. One of the most famous attractions is the reclining Buddha sculpture, known as Mahaparinirvana, located in Cave 26.

Days when Ellora Caves are open to the public: Tuesday to Sunday

Timings of Ellora Caves: 8.30a.m. to 5.30p.m.

Distance between Aurangabad and Ajanta Caves: 104kms.

Useful Notes:
1. Since the car park is located about 4-5kms from the caves, it will take you about 1 hour to walk to reach the caves. You can, instead, queue up for a bus to go to the caves from the car park, but be prepared for long queues and very crowded buses.

2. At a weekend you can expect to wait over half an hour just to buy tickets to enter the caves.

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