Ajanta & Ellora Tourism
Heritage

Ajanta & Ellora Tourism

Rank 25
Ranked 25 of 130
Maharashtra Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
5.8/7
181 Ratings & 121 Reviews

Ajanta & Ellora Info

  • State: Maharashtra
  • Famous for/as: Heritage
Located near the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the Ajanta-Ellora Caves are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ajanta and Ellora Caves are two different tourist destinations, which are often mentioned together. The reason behind this is that both are rock-cut cave monuments, which feature beautiful paintings and sculptures.

The Ajanta Caves are located 107 km away from Aurangabad city, just outside the village of Ajanta. This complex comprises 29 rock-cut cave monuments, which date back to around 2nd century BC. Construction of the caves was done in two phases, the first group of caves was built around 200 BC, while the second group was built in 600 AD.

Nestled in the semi-arid Sahayadri Hills above the Waghur River, the caves at Ajanta are famous for beautiful paintings and sculptures that depict tales of Jatakas. Built using only hammer and chisel, these caves served as secluded retreats for Buddhist monks, who performed their rituals in the chaityas and viharas of these caves.

The artwork in the caves comprises well preserved wall paintings of Boddhisattva, Padmapani and Avalokiteshvar. On 28th April 1819, these caves were rediscovered by a British officer, John Smith. His name along with the date is still faintly visible on the wall of Cave 9.  

Located 30 km from the city of Aurangabad, the Ellora cave complex is an archaeological site, which was built by the Rashtrakuta rulers. The cave complex comprises of 34 caves that were hewn out of solid rocks of the Charanandri Hills. Built between the 5th and 10th centuries, these caves are monasteries for Buddhists as well as temples for Hindus and Jains.

A symbol of religious harmony of that time, the Ellora complex includes 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves. Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist monasteries, chaityas and viharas, while caves 13 to 29 are the Hindu temples. Dating back to the 9th and 10th century, caves 30 to 34 are the Jain temples.  

Every year in Aurangabad, the Ajanta-Ellora Festival is organised for paying tribute to the legendary caves of Ellora, Ajanta and other historical possessions of India. This grand ceremony is attended by the greatest artists of Indian art and culture. The cultural event includes performances in classical and folk dancing, singing and instrumental music. Earlier the venue for this festival was Kailash Temple of Ellora Caves; however, it has now been shifted to Soneri Mahal, which is a historical palace in the city.

From the weather point of view, the best time to visit the Ajanta Caves is during monsoon season, when the sound of the Waghur River can be heard in the caves. Tourists can also visit these caves during the winter season. On the other hand, the ideal time to visit Ellora Caves is after the end of the monsoon. June through February is also considered good for planning a trip to the Ellora Caves.

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Ajanta & Ellora Traveller Reviews

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Read 26 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.8/7, 1
out of 121 Ajanta & Ellora reviews 26
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Ravi Thakur
  • Ravi Thakur
  • Lives in Karnal
  • 4 Reviews

"A must visit place to see natural beauty" new review

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
It is a place with a natural beauty you can see how difficult was it to build these caves in old time. Ellora caves, Kailash Temple nearby dhabas are must visiting place. I was busy mostly in exploring the place, its simplicity and beauty. All travellers must come this place at least once there life for a good experience.
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  • 2 votes

Mayurkumar
  • Mayurkumar
  • Lives in Aurangabad
  • 1 photo
  • 2 Reviews

"The best place in capital of marathwada" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
Ajanta ellora is 100 km from Aurangabad. It was my college trip to ajanta ellora during rainy season and it was best experience. Ajanta contain hindu temple and buddhist caves best time to visit is rainy season. Waterfall is great in ajanta. Its also best place also for hill climbing.
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  • 2 votes

Soumyajit roy
  • Soumyajit roy
  • Lives in Hyderabad
  • 1 Review

"Must watch for people who take pride in rich Indian history and culture" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
Ajanta & Ellora which are in Aurangabad, Maharashtra is a must watch. The Ajanta cases are examples of Buddhist arts and Craft, diligently curved out of a single piece of stone. You will be amazed to see and feel how the same was curved out.

Ellora talks about religious deities of Hindus and has the best of architecture. Visiting the cave 30-34, 29, 21 and 17 are must watch. You will be awestruck.
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  • 6 votes

Shailendra Bendale
  • Shailendra Bendale
  • Lives in Jalgaon
  • 5 Reviews

"A good tourist spot"

  • 4.5/7
  • Posted 1 month ago
Ajanta and Ellora caves are world heritage centres. One should visit at least once. And should carry a good camera. Should carry our own water bottles. It is must. Try not to buy anything without bargain. The rates are nearly triple. Don't hesitate to bargain or else you will pay triple...!
Ellora caves are near Aurangabad. So, you should have a complete full day for Aurangabad sightseeing as well.
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  • 7 votes

Rajat Jain
  • Rajat Jain
  • Lives in Jaipur
  • 2 Reviews

"Nice place to visit"

  • 7/7
  • Posted Sep 20, 2014
It is worth to visit them both. Ellora and Ajanta are quite different and both worth seeing. Nowadays it is possible to go to Ajanta by car from Aurangabad. The official guide was a little bit disappointing.
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  • 6 votes

Aasim Tamboli
  • Aasim Tamboli
  • 1 Review

"A place displaying ancient Indian culture"

  • 5/7
  • Posted Aug 12, 2014
It is a good place for history lover. There are many statues than you can think. Its interesting place. It shows ancient India culture. Many foreigners visit here daily. Many geographical scientists also research here.
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  • 10 votes

Rahul Gupta
  • Rahul Gupta
  • Lives in Nagpur
  • 2 Reviews

"Amazing caves with beautiful carvings"

  • 6/7
  • Posted Jul 26, 2014
Ajanta and Ellora both are located in Aurangabad district. Both are amazing heritage of the world. In Ajanta, there are many caves which are made within the caves, idols of Lord Buddha and Hindu mythology Gods. You must take a cab because the distance is too much. Other must see places are Pawan Chakki, Bibi ka Makbara and Shivling temple near Ellora.
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  • 10 votes

Shailendra Tokas
  • Shailendra Tokas
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 19 photos
  • 6 Reviews

"Mature architecture of ancient India"

  • 7/7
  • Posted Jan 31, 2014
Ours was a long awaited, well planned, well researched and wonderfully travelled holiday experience at Ellora in July 2013. Ellora caves are beautiful and one of the best destinations one can see in their lifetime. The cave temples (like Kailash Temple or the Buddhist Temple), have beautiful carvings and paintings that shows how mature the architectures were in the ancient India. All in all a very good experience visiting Ellora caves.
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  • 6 votes

Tejas Bumb
  • Tejas Bumb
  • Lives in Pune
  • 2 Reviews

"Great place ! enjoy the history !"

  • Posted Mar 4, 2013
Its a Good place for architects ! its an amazing place for people who sketch You need atleast 1 night 2 days to enjoy it.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: I would give it a miss.

Activities & things to do: Just relax and chill at the garden of the hotel kailas.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: By your own vehicle via pune.
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  • 10 votes

Amitra Kar
  • Amitra Kar
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 61 photos
  • 12 Reviews

"Amazing Ajanta and Excellent Ellora"

  • Posted Feb 6, 2013
It was a long cherished, well planned, minutely researched and wonderfully traveled holiday experience at Ajanta and Ellora in January 2013. The murals and sculptures of these two famous World Heritage Sites are just unbelievably beautiful and surprising! What a rich and extraordinary culture and craftsman India had, when these rock cut cave temples were constructed during second and seventh century, just by a tool like chisel and hammer. The paintings at Ajanta even some 1500 years later are a pleasing treat to the eyes and extremely wonderful. Built on Basalt, there are 26 rock cut temples (total 31, some are not in watchable condition) that depict the epic story of Buddha and are magnificently sculptured which attract millions of traveler from around the world. These caves are either of Mahayana tradition (literally meaning superior) or of Hinayana tradition (inferior) and are Chaityas (Prayer Hall with a Stupa) or Viharas (Monastery). The world largest free standing monolith (carved from top from a single living rock), Kailashnath Temple at cave 16 Ellora, representing the celebration of thunderous power reflecting the fearsome dance of Shiva, is an architectural wonder that took more than 100 years to complete by Rashtrakutta dynasty in 760 CE and still stands high as one of the finest and most renowned monument of ancient India. The city of Aurangabad (the then named Khirki), is itself a representation of history with so many historical connections. It was a dream destination of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who founded the city in 1610. He spent last two decades of his life here and dies in 1707 and was buried in nearby Khuldabad. In 1679, Aurangzeb’s son built a replica of the Taj Mahal, the ‘Bibi Ka Maqbara’, also called as the Mini Taj and the Taj of the Deccan, in tribute to his mother Begam Rabia Durani, just at a cost of INR 7 lacs while the Taj Mahal at Agra was built at a cost of INR 320 lacs. We have also been to the historic and gigantic Daulatabad Fort and visited Bharatmata temple inside the fort courtyard. The Grishneshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the famous Jyotirlingas nearby. We were also pleasantly surprised at Siddrarth Garden, by its sprawling landscape, exotic animals and a toy train for the kids. All in all, it was a wonderful destination with family, with so much to explore and so much to enjoy!

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: The food at Aurangabad is a mix of Mughal and typical Maharashtrian style of combo! We liked very much the food during our stay at Hotel Panchvati and its Tangdi Kebab and Saoji Chicken are just awesome..! There are plenty of good restaurants all over the not-so-big-city, Bhoj (veg only) near Bharad Ganesh Mandir, Thatt Baat (at Adalat Road), Naivedya on Jalna Road and Swad at Osmanpura to name a few. We have tasted samosas and kachories of Gayatri Chaat Bhandar at Gulmandi and are really delicious and is a must have. You can also try out Pan at Tara Pan centre of Osmanpura for a traditional experience.
There are plenty of tourist attractions all over the city. Take a ricksaw to explore some thirteen gates (from a total of around 54) in the City of Gates and the important and architecturally most appealing are Makai Gate (east), Delhi Gate (north), Paithan Gate (south) and Khas Gate (west). There are two all inclusive daily tours operated by MTDC and ITDC and is best to opt for. Day one is for Ajanta caves (106km from Aurangabad) and costs 450 rupees per person while day two is for Daulatabad Fort (also known as Deogiri Fort), Ellora Caves (locally known as Verul Leni), Bibi ka Maqbara and Panchakki for a cost of 300 rupees per person. Remember Ajanta and Ellora are closed for tourists on Monday and Tuesday respectively. In Ajanta, visit the caves in this order 17-16-10-6-4-1 and cover during first half of the day as the caves are east facing. You should have powerful torch as its dark inside the caves and avoid shoes with lace as you require putting on and off quite frequently. Though all caves at Ajanta depicts the story of Buddha, Ellora caves represent three faiths – Cave 1-12 in the south (Buddhist – oldest in the lot from 500-750 CE), Cave 13-29 in the middle (Hindu – from 500-870 CE) and Cave 30-34 in north (Jain – 800-1000 CE). Kailashnath Temple, world’s largest free standing monolith, at Cave 16 is the main attraction in Ellora. Go there in July/ August to find a natural waterfall right above cave 12 at Ellora and the view is spectacular while it gushes the water in the gorge!
You can pick up some local, traditional and ethnic Himroo and Mishroo shawls, bedcover and Paithani sarees at Paithani Weaving Centre, New Aurangabad (opposite MGM CIDCO) or from Aurangabad Himroo Industry, Zaffer Gate Mondha Road. Plenty of small and traditional memento of Bidri Pottery and many more curios at small shops near Ajanta cave parking bay. Be aware of bargain!

Activities & things to do: Well, nothing much to do in the city of the Tourism Capital of Maharashtra. Just Relax... explore the history at the caves, spend an evening at Bibi ka Maqbara and possibly unwind at the sprawling lawns at Siddarth Garden and Zoo. You can visit nearby Salim Ali Lake and Bird Sanctuary or have a cab to explore Paithan (56km), Lonar Crater (60km) or Gautala Wildlife Sanctuary (70km) if you have specific interests.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Have powerful torch as the caves are quite dark inside. Photography with flash/ tripod is not allowed. Avoid shoes with lace for frequent on and off. Cover Ajanta during first half as the caves are east facing. Have sufficient water and food at the parking bay of Ajanta as nothing is available at the cave upstairs. Be aware of honey bee caves around as at times they get annoyed.
Aurangabad is well connected with the rest of the country in all three ways – Air, Rail and Road and you could search on internet that suits your needs. We travelled from Mumbai and found the following is the best option.
17057 Devagiri Express Daily Mumbai (CSTM) 21.05 Aurangabad (AWB) 04.05, 12 stops, 7 hours, 274km, 3AC – Rs.503. 17618 Tapovan Express Daily AWB 14.35 CSTM 22.05, 12 stops, 7 hour 30 minutes, CC – Rs.403
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