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It was long ago when the mighty kingdoms indulged in constructing several matchless forts and havelis. At that time, no one had even imagined of a treasure being chiseled out of the solid rocks, the most splendid world heritage sites – the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The paintings and sculptures at Ajanta and Ellora are the best example of unmatched artistic excellence. These caves have been ornately carved. The exquisiteness of the caves draws a horde of tourists from far and wide. Situated near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, these magnificent rock cut caves are one of their kind not only in India but across the globe.
It was only in the 19th century that the Ajanta Caves were spotted lying within the Sahyadri hills when some British officers were on a hunting expedition. The rock-cut caves of Ajanta, approximately 107 kilometers from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, are built in a horseshoe shape. Carved from deep curves mountain side, these caves serve as a secluded retreat for the Buddhist monks. The story of Buddhism, beginning from the 200 BC till 650 AD is depicted by the cave site of Ajanta.
All of the 29 caves at Ajanta are worth a visit. Five out of these serve as temples and the remaining as monasteries. When you step inside the caves, the stunning figures, unique frescoes and massive sculptures will bedazzle you eyes. Hold you breath! There is still lots to see. You cannot afford missing a glance of the panels reflecting the stories of Lord Buddha followed by images of princesses and nymphs. Finest and earliest Buddhist sculptures and architecture, Ajanta caves are worth a visit at least once.
Ellora caves are 26 kilometers north of Aurangabad. The discovery of the caves dates back to the 4th century. Perfect religious harmony exists at this architectural wonder. The formation of the Ellora caves began from 350 AD and continued till its completion in the 700 AD. The 34 caves of Ellora are divided amongst three different regions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The five caves on the North are those of the Jains, the 17 in the center are of the Hindus and the 12 caves to the South are dedicated to the Buddhists. The statue of the Buddha reflecting nobility, grace and serenity is a prominent attraction of the Ellora caves. In addition to the statue of the Buddha, this Stupa has dwarfs indulged in music and dance.
Visit the 16th cave where you will see an elegant work of the architectural heritage. The marvel is fondly known as the Kailasa Temple. Carved from a single stone, the structure is one of the best cave monumental world-wide. Yet another must-see in the Ellora caves is the ceiling of the 32nd cave. Dedicated to Indra Sabha, the cave depicts the Jain traditions. The complex designs and the beautiful paintings that adorn the walls have attracted several pilgrims for centuries now. The artistic creation remains well-preserved till date.
The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are masterpieces of the architectural heritage of India. The superior artistic quality of these caves will definitely inspire the lives of generations to come. Go winding through the rugged rocks stepping into the natural vegetation enveloped by an extremely peaceful environ – visit Ajanta and Ellora Caves.