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ajanta caves

Introduction

Ajanta caves are a set of around 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments ad granite carved temples situated in Aurangabad city, in the west Indian state of Maharashtra. Some of these caves date back to as far as the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C!

The caves were officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

History

These caves at Ajanta were excavated between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE. While the oldest ones date back to 2nd and 1st centuries BC, few others were added in the following years, some as many years later as the 5th and 6th centuries AD (which was during the Gupta period rule in India).

Architecture/Structure

Ajanta caves are located in a 76 m high, horseshoe-shaped escarpment overlooking the Waghora (tiger) River in Maharashtra, in Aurangabad city. These caves are well-known and loved for their temple architecture and their artistic murals.

Ajanta Caves comprise of two things –

Caityas (sanctuaries)

Viharas (monasteries)

The caves also have beautiful fresco-type paintings that are the chief attraction of Ajanta. These paintings depict Buddhist legends and divinities with exuberance and are absolutely a treat for people who have an interest in art and history, or Buddhism.

Additional Information for Visitors

To visit Ajanta caves, visitors need to first arrive into Aurangabad, which is about 333 kilometre (about 207 miles) from Mumbai city (the capital of Maharashtra and one of the largest and popular metropolitan cities in India). From Aurangabad city, the Ajanta Caves are located about 102 kilometres away, which can be travelled by road (hiring a taxi/cab or a bus).

The nearest airport from Ajanta caves is the Aurangabad Airport, which is a domestic airport, connecting to various other cities within India only. It is located about five and a half kilometres (about 3.4 miles) away. The closest international airports are at Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport) and Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Airport).

The nearest railway terminal to travel to other cities by train, is at Jalgaon city, Jalgaon Junction - located about 60 kilometres (37.2 miles) from Ajanta Caves; it is well connected to important cities in India. The entry ticket to Ajanta Caves costs INR 40 for Indian national visitors and tourists from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries; and INR 600 for other foreign nationals. However, the entry is free for kids under the age of 15.