A visitor's guide to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves

There is a cryptic lure to ancient caves that eludes the brightness of sunbeams and radiates ancient history. Aurangabad, Maharashtra - home to the largest number of caves in India, huddled in all sizes. From ancient rock-cut to ones with intricate sculptures, these caves are fascinating archaeological legacies.
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Khuldabad houses the very famous temple of Bhadra Maruti Temple, which is highly cherished by Hindus. People come together here, especially on Hanuman Jayanti (birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god). There are various important monuments in this fortified town of Khuldabad. The most famous one being the tomb of Mughal Emperor Aurungjeb and the tomb of the first Nizam of Hyderabad. Valley of Saints is located nearby with over 1500 graves of Sufi Saints from 14th century AD.

Khuldabad houses the very famous temple of Bhadra Maruti Temple, which is highly cherished by Hindus. People come together here, especially on Hanuman Jayanti (birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god). There are various important monuments in this fortified town of Khuldabad. The most famous one being the tomb of Mughal Emperor Aurungjeb and the tomb of the first Nizam of Hyderabad. Valley of Saints is located nearby with over 1500 graves of Sufi Saints from 14th century AD.

The Jain Caves: The Jain caves reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy & tradition. They reflect a strict sense of simplicity – they are not relatively large as compared to others, but they present exceptionally detailed art works.

The Jain Caves: The Jain caves reveal specific dimensions of Jain philosophy & tradition. They reflect a strict sense of simplicity – they are not relatively large as compared to others, but they present exceptionally detailed art works.

There are a total of 34 monasteries and temples in Ellora, belonging to three different religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Hindu/Buddhist caves of Ajanta were discovered by British officers in 1819. The Ajanta Caves were first mentioned in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India between A.D 629 and 645. The caves at Ajanta are older than those at Ellora.

There are a total of 34 monasteries and temples in Ellora, belonging to three different religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Hindu/Buddhist caves of Ajanta were discovered by British officers in 1819. The Ajanta Caves were first mentioned in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India between A.D 629 and 645. The caves at Ajanta are older than those at Ellora.

The Buddhist Caves: The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures, created between the 5th and 7th centuries. These consist mostly of monasteries: large, multi-storied buildings carved into the mountain face, including living quarters, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and other rooms.

The Buddhist Caves: The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures, created between the 5th and 7th centuries. These consist mostly of monasteries: large, multi-storied buildings carved into the mountain face, including living quarters, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and other rooms.

Grishneshwar Temple is an ancient pilgrimage site where one of the twelve Jyotirlinga manifestations of Lord Shiva was found. It is situated around half a kilometre from Ellora. The temple is made up of red rocks which call for the enchanting look that it delivers. Built in the 18th century the temple is in the shape of a cube. There are fascinating carvings and attractive sculptures of Indian Gods and Goddess. Definitely worth checking out especially those on a spiritual path.

Grishneshwar Temple is an ancient pilgrimage site where one of the twelve Jyotirlinga manifestations of Lord Shiva was found. It is situated around half a kilometre from Ellora. The temple is made up of red rocks which call for the enchanting look that it delivers. Built in the 18th century the temple is in the shape of a cube. There are fascinating carvings and attractive sculptures of Indian Gods and Goddess. Definitely worth checking out especially those on a spiritual path.

The Hindu Caves: The Hindu caves were constructed in the beginning of the 7th century and represent a different style of creative vision & execution skills. Some were of such complexity that they required several generations of planning and coordination to complete.

The Hindu Caves: The Hindu caves were constructed in the beginning of the 7th century and represent a different style of creative vision & execution skills. Some were of such complexity that they required several generations of planning and coordination to complete.

Did you know that India has not one but two Taj Mahals? Indeed, there is a monument very similar to the Taj that stands in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It is a mausoleum called Bibi Ka Maqbara ("Tomb of the Lady") built by Prince Azam Shah, the son of the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, between 1651 and 1661 A.D, in the memory of his mother, Dilras Banu Begum. If you don’t manage a trip to the Taj Mahal this could well be the next best thing.

Did you know that India has not one but two Taj Mahals? Indeed, there is a monument very similar to the Taj that stands in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It is a mausoleum called Bibi Ka Maqbara ("Tomb of the Lady") built by Prince Azam Shah, the son of the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, between 1651 and 1661 A.D, in the memory of his mother, Dilras Banu Begum. If you don’t manage a trip to the Taj Mahal this could well be the next best thing.

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