Bragging rights of visiting the Ajanta Caves
Recognized by UNESCO as one of the greatest historical monuments in the world, the Ajanta Caves are a sight to behold. Located 105km from Maharashtra’s Aurangabad and 55km from Jalgaon city in India, the Ajanta comprises over 30 caves including 5 chaitya-grihas (prayer halls), and multiple monasteries. The monuments date back to 200 BC- 650 AD (taking over 800 years to complete), but their discovery only came in 1819 AD after British officers accidentally discovered the caves hiding under thick brush.
The Ajanta served as college monastery, teaching Bhuddist philosophy. The majority of Ajanta’s art originated in the 400-year period lasting from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. The paintings center around the life of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and stories of his reincarnations.
Best time to visit the caves
The best time to visit the Ajanta caves is between June and March. Avoid the months between March to May when intense humidity makes cave exploration rather uncomfortable.
How to get to Ajanta Caves of Maharashtra
When in India, you can reach the caves by the use of air transport from the airport in Aurangabad. You can also hire a car to drive from Ellora caves to Ajanta caves. This is a two-hour drive journey. There is also an option of boarding a train in Jalgaon.
Cost of visiting the historical monument
Foreigners are admitted at a fee of US$10. Children under 15 can enter the caves free of charge. The Ajanta Caves of Maharashtra are open from 9:00 am up to sunset. They remain closed on Mondays, but are open on national holidays; however, if you plan on visiting on a holiday, prepare to battle long lines.
The most unbelievable thing about these caves is the fact that they are a result of hand crafting with only a chisel and a hammer. The caves are filled with sculpture sand paintings. Remember to carry a torch with you while exploring the caves because many of them are relatively dark and have poor lighting.
While visiting the caves, check out the four-day Ellora-Ajanta Festival. The festival takes place in the last week of November every year at the Golden Palace, locally referred to as Soneri Mahal. Some of India’s most distinguished dancers and singers are featured in the festival.
- Site dedicated to the Ajanta Caves: http://ajantacaves.com/default.asp
- Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajanta_Caves
- Unesco Heritage website: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/242