Heritage in Caves

World Heritage Site – Ellora Caves

The Ellora caves, locally known as ‘Verul Leni’ is located on the Aurangabad-Chalisgaon road at 30 km north-northwest of Aurangabad, the district headquarters. The name Ellora itself inspires everyone as it represents one of the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire world. Ellora is also world famous for the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cave 16).

The caves are datable from circa 6th – 7th century A.D. to 11th – 12th century A.D. At Ellora cave no. 1 to 12 are related to Buddhist religion; Cave no. 13 to 29 are related to Hindu religion and Cave no. 30 to 34 are related to Jaina religion.

The caves are excavated in the scarp of a large plateau, running in a north-south direction for nearly 2 km, the scarp being in the form of a semi-circle, the Buddhist group at the right arc on the south, while the Jaina group at the left arc on the north and the Brahmanical group at the centre.

World Heritage Site – Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves are situated at a distance of 107 km north of Aurangabad, the district headquarter. The caves attained the name from a nearby village named Ajanta located about 12 km. These caves are excavated in horse–shoe shaped bend of rock surface nearly 76 m in height overlooking a narrow stream known as Waghora. The location of this valley provided a calm and serene environment for the Buddhist monks who retreated at these secluded places during the rainy seasons. The caves were excavated in different periods (circa. 2nd century B.C. to 6th century A.D.) per the necessity.

In all, total 30 excavations were hewn out of rock which also include an unfinished one. Out of these, five (cave no. 9, 10, 19, 26, and 29) are chaityagrihas (the prayer halls) and the rest are viharas (residential places for monks). The object of worship is a stupa here and these caves exhibit the imitation of wooden construction to the extent that the rafters and beams are also sculpted even though they are non-functional.

The world-famous paintings at Ajanta also fall into two broad phases. The earliest is noticed in the form of fragmentary specimens in cave nos. 9 & 10, which are datable to second century B.C. The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. The main theme of the paintings is the depiction of various Jataka stories, different incidents associated with the life of Buddha, and the contemporary events and social life also. The ceiling decoration invariably consists of decorative patterns, geometrical as well as floral.

Tentative Day wise Itinerary

Day 01: Departure from Delhi, Arrival in Aurangabad
Hotel Check in, Stay in Aurangabad
Day 02: Visit to Ajanta (World Heritage Site)
Departure by AC Bus/ Car (depending on the group size): 8.00 am Aurangabd – Ajanta distance is approximately 110 km (Night stay in Aurangabad)
Day 03: Ellora (World Heritage Site)
Departure by AC Bus/ Car (depending on the group size):
8.00 amAurangabad – Ellora distance is approximately 35 km On the way visit to the Daulatabad fort and Khuldabad (Aurangzeb’s tomb. Bagh Bani Begam- a Mughal garden)
(Night stay in Aurangabad)
Day 04: Aurangabad, Departure for Delhi