Ajanta Ellora Caves – The Complete Travel Guide

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Table of Contents

About Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta Ellora caves represent the rich Indian history and artistry that existed in ancient times. These are caves that have been cut from rocks and offer a glimpse into the glorious past of our country. 

Ajanta & Ellora caves are located in which city?

These caves are located in close proximity to the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The Ajanta is around 102 km from Aurangabad while the Ellora Caves are around 30 km from the city.

Ajanta Ellora History

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Ajanta Caves are the older of the two and date back to the period between the 2nd Century BCE and 480/650 CE. The caves are believed to have been built in two phases – the Satavahana Period and the Vakataka Period. These caves were lost to mankind since they were covered by trees and thick forest for a long period only to be rediscovered in 1819 by the British.

Ellora Caves, on the other hand, date back to the period between the 5th and 10th Century CE. They are divided into Hindu Caves, Buddhist Caves, and Jain Caves.

Today, the Ajanta Ellora Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ajanta Ellora Caves Architecture

While the Ajanta and Ellora are separated by a distance of around 100 km, they are usually, mentioned together since their aesthetics are at par and they are both located in the Aurangabad district. The Ajanta Caves are more about amazing paintings on the Buddhism theme. On the other hand, Ellora Caves are more about architecture and sculpture from three different religions – Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

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The Ajanta Caves is a cluster of around 30 caves that have been excavated in the shape of a horseshoe. All the caves were connected by a flight of stairs which have now been destroyed. Cave #1 is the most popular cave in Ajanta with authentic paintings and a doorway with Bodhisattva murals.

The Ellora Caves is a cluster of around 34 caves extending over more than 2 km. They are the most exemplary examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. These caves mostly have monasteries with living and sleeping quarters. The Buddhist Caves were built first, followed by the Hindu and the Jain caves.

Importance of Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora are famous for the architectural finesses of ancient India. 

Ajanta Ellora Caves Location – Aurangabad district in Maharashtra

These are man-made caves built by carving a huge granite hillside. Ajanta are older than Ellora. Every site has a unique story. Architecturally, they are considered to be heritage properties of the world and are listed with UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Here are some important facts about these caves:

  • The Ajanta caves date back to around the 2nd Century BCE.
  • There are many monasteries and worship halls of Buddhist traditions in the Ajanta Caves.
  • UNESCO believes that Indian Art was influenced by the Buddhist Art of these times.
  • Ellora is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world. 
  • Ellora caves date back to the 600-1000 CE period.
  • There are more than 100 caves excavated at the Ellora site. However, only 34 have been opened to the public. Of these, there are 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and 5 Jain caves.
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How to Reach Ajanta and Ellora from Nashik

When traveling from Nashik, Ellora falls before Ajanta. Here are different ways in which you can reach Ajanta and Ellora Caves from Nashik:

By Train

Ajanta and Ellora Caves are situated in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. Aurangabad has a railway station at a distance of around 30 km from the Ellora Caves and 105 km from Ajanta Caves. There are 12 trains from Nashik to Aurangabad. The fastest train is the Dadar – Jalna Jan Shatabdi Express that takes around three hours. Once you reach the Aurangabad Railway Station, you can book a taxi from Aurangabad to Ajanta Ellora Caves and reach your destination in no time.

By Road

The distance by road from Nashik to Ellora Caves is around 170-180 km via the Maharashtra State Highway 30. The road distance between Nashik and Ajanta Caves is around 260-265 km via MH SH 25. You can drive yourself or hire a chauffeur-driven Nashik to Ajanta and Ellora Caves taxi and enjoy the journey.

By Flight

There are no direct flights from Nashik to Aurangabad. Hence, it is advisable to either travel by train or road to reach Ajanta and Ellora. 

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[Also Read: Explore Maharashtra’s Breathtaking Sea Forts]

How to Reach Ajanta and Ellora Caves from Mumbai

When traveling from Mumbai, Ellora falls before Ajanta. Here are different ways in which you can reach Ajanta and Ellora Caves from Mumbai:

By Train

Ajanta and Ellora are situated in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. Aurangabad has a railway station at a distance of around 30 km from the Ellora and 105 km from Ajanta. There are 12 trains from Mumbai CST to Aurangabad. The fastest train is the Dadar – Jalna Jan Shatabdi Express that takes around six hours and ten minutes. Once you reach the Aurangabad Railway Station, you can book a taxi from Aurangabad to Ajanta Ellora and reach your destination in no time.

By Road

The distance by road from Mumbai to Ellora Caves is around 340-345 km via the NH160 and Maharashtra State Highway 30. The road distance between Mumbai and Ajanta Caves is around 430 km via NH160. You can drive yourself or hire a chauffeur-driven Mumbai to Ajanta and Ellora caves taxi and enjoy the journey.

By Flight

Aurangabad has an airport with direct connectivity to Mumbai. The flight time is around one hour and ten minutes. You can book a cab from Aurangabad airport to Ellora Caves (distance of around 36 km) or a taxi from Aurangabad airport to Ajanta Caves (distance of around 105 km).

Download our Savaari car Booking app for a smooth and pleasant journey.

Ajanta Ellora Caves Best Time to Visit

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The best time to visit Ajanta and Ellora caves is from October to February. The temperatures during these months range between 10 and 25 degrees C. During the summer months of March to June the temperatures can soar to 40 degrees C. While the monsoon can be a refreshing period in Maharashtra, your trip can be hit with practical difficulties if the downpour is heavy.

Importance of a Guide during your Visit

  1. Every cave, painting, and sculpture in the Ajanta and Ellora has a story. Without a guide, you will not be able to appreciate their significance.
  2. Although you can read about it online, a local guide can take you through the temples explaining every bit in great detail.
  3. If you don’t know the local language, then it is important to ensure that you find a guide who knows your language.
  4. A knowledgeable Ajanta Ellora tourist guide can help you relive the bygone era and create memories for years to come.
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Ajanta and Ellora caves timings and Entry Fees

Here are the details:

Ajanta Caves Timings

The Ajanta Caves are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM throughout the year. They are closed on Mondays.

Ajanta Caves Entry Fee

  • Adult Indian nationals: Rs 10
  • Children below 15 years of age: Free
  • Foreign tourists: Rs 250
  • Additional charges for still or video camera: Rs 25

Ellora Caves Timings

The Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays. On all other days, they are open from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Ellora Caves Entry Fee

  • Indian nationals: Rs 30
  • Foreign tourists: Rs 500
  • Additional charges for video camera: Rs 25
  • Car parking: Rs 30

Things to Do around Ajanta and Ellora

  • Visit the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple.
  • Shop at the Mughal Silk Bazaar.
  • Visit the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s tomb at Khuldabad
  • Visit the ancient Daulatabad Fort and revel in the magnificence of the structure.
  • Visit Bibi Ka Maqbara, the final resting place of Aurangzeb’s wife, Rabia-ud-Durrani. Due to its similarity with the Taj Mahal at Agra, it is also called the Mini Taj of the Deccan.

Best Place to Eat in Ajanta and Ellora

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Here are some places to eat in Ajanta and Ellora:

  • Bhoj Restaurant, CBS Road – Indian cuisine
  • Kailash Restaurant, Railway Station Road – Indian and Chinese food
  • Tandoor Restaurant and Bar, Station Road East – Indian food
  • MTDC Ajanta Restaurant, Near Ajanta Caves – Thalis, juices, and more

Best Places to Stay around Ajanta and Ellora

Here are some places to stay around Ajanta and Ellora:

Closer to Ellora Caves

  • WelcomHotel Rama International – Member ITC Hotel Group, Airport Road
  • Ambassador Ajanta Hotel, Jalna Road
  • Hotel Modi Grand, Adalat Road
  • The Fern Residency, Jalgaon Road

Closer to Ajanta Caves

  • Hotel View Point, Jalgaon-Aurangabad Highway
  • Hotel New K P Park, Fardapur
  • The Imperia Residency, Ajanta Road
  • Four Season Recreation Hotel And Spa, Ajanta Road
A quick summary
Ajanta Ellora Caves- Travel Guide
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Ajanta Ellora Caves- Travel Guide
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Ajanta and Ellora caves represent the rich Indian history and artistry that existed in ancient times. These are caves that have been cut from rocks and offer a glimpse into the glorious past of our country.
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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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