Ajanta caves are an Indian architectural gem that is located in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra. These caves have been an integral part of Indian history and date back to the 2nd to 10th centuries. The architectural beauty and strength of the structure are what make them stand out from the others. The design and architecture of each cave are very unique, and these caves together are the largest in the country. Due to their durable structure, unique architecture, and colorful history, Ajanta caves have become a must-visit tourist destination in India.
These caves are listed under UNESCO world heritage sites and are considered a crucial part of Indian history. Many people wish to travel to Maharashtra and visit these beautiful caves in person. This is why we are sharing all the essential things and facts you must know about Ajanta caves. Below, we will discuss everything about this site, from the location to the importance of Ajanta caves. Keep reading to learn more about this heritage site.
Ajanta Caves In Which State?
Ajanta caves are located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Since Maharashtra is well connected, you can easily reach there from all major cities such as Pune, Nashik, Mumbai, Indore, Hyderabad, etc. If you are in Maharashtra, you can reach Ajanta caves via state transport buses, get a taxi, or even drive by car. People coming from other states would have to stop at Jalgaon, it is around 60 kms away from Ajanta caves, and you can easily get to the caves by taxi. If you are traveling via air, then the nearest airport is Aurangabad airport which is 99 km away from the caves. This means you can visit these caves from all over India using varying means of transportation.
What Are Ajanta Caves Famous For?
Ajanta caves are famous for their history and beautiful paintings and sculptures. These caves house some of the most ancient Buddhist sculptures and paintings. Ajanta cave paintings represent the different life cycles of Buddha and several other Buddhists deities who were present from the 2nd to 5th Century BC, some of the paintings in these caves are known to be the largest surviving ancient paintings of India. This just adds another level of importance and charm to Ajanta caves.
These caves were not even found till the 17th Century. A British officer accidentally discovered it on a hunting trip, and these caves have been a heritage site ever since. After these caves were first discovered they became a unique and exotic location famous for their ancient paintings and sculptures. The historical significance of these paintings just adds another layer of mystique to this site and makes it even more intriguing for people.
Who Built The Ajanta Caves?
Ajanta caves were constructed so far back in history that it is challenging to identify who constructed them. However, not all of the caves were built at the same time. The earliest ones belonged to the Hinayana in the first or Satavahana Period, then the second phase of construction began in the late 5th century under the reign of Hindu emperor Harishena from the Vakataka Dynasty. This time was recorded in the history as Mahayana (the greater vehicle) tradition of Buddhism.
Most of the caves were built during these times, while the older ones were refurbished to their best condition. The caves fell into the areas of Nizam of Hyderabad. In the 1920s, he restored the caves and converted them into a museum for people to visit. The tourists were allowed to visit these caves for a fee. After independence, Maharashtra’s Government took over and started managing this historical site. Since then it has been a famous tourist attraction and has attracted several people to visit.
What Inspired The Paintings Of Ajanta?
Buddha is the main inspiration of Ajanta caves paintings. All of the paintings are either inspired by Buddha or depict their life cycle. Paintings within these caves are artistic and bold. They show the physical beauty of men and women and also display an admiration towards the colorful life. The paintings contain everything from bold physical beauty to the cycle of Buddha’s life.
Several people and artists have attempted to copy this iconic artwork, but most of them were destroyed due to natural calamities. The caves at Ajanta were either viharas or monasteries. These were used as worship halls and were known as the house of stupas. Although the caves were Buddhist in nature, they were constructed by Hindus, and the paintings in Ajanta have not only influenced Indian art but also inspired paintings in Tibet and Sri Lanka.
How Many Caves Are There In Ajanta?
There are a total of 30 caves within Ajanta. All of these Ajanta caves are situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Five of these caves are chaitya (meaning prayer halls), while all the other caves are vihara (meaning monastery). The caves are numbered as they were found and excavated. This is why the order can be confusing for some people when they visit. These caves feature paintings that depict several things.
From the physical beauty of men and women to the life cycle of Buddha, these paintings are the main attraction of Ajanta caves. The Ajanta caves paintings inspire Indian craft and have been a driving force in helping us leap forward into artistic work. The paintings in Ajanta depict beautiful religious work. You will find several artistic depictions of the souls and human psyche. This religious art is a crucial marker of the journey within and all of this is displayed beautifully through the paintings within the caves.
Ajanta caves have become a famous attraction in India. These mesmerizing structures are considered a heritage site, and tourists from all over the world come to visit this iconic piece of history. The secluded caves and beautiful paintings depict the religious aspects of the world and allow people to witness the life cycle of Buddha. Visiting Ajanta caves will be a trip to remember. Below, we have covered some frequently asked questions to clear your doubts about the visit.
What is the visiting time?
You can visit Ajanta caves from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Are the caves open every day?
Ajanta caves are open every day of the week except for Mondays.
What is the ticket price?
Indian citizens below 15 years can enter free of cost
Indian citizens above 15 years are required to pay ₹10.
For tourists above 15 years, the charges are $5 or equivalent to the same in Indian rupees.
How can you get to Ajanta caves?
You can easily get a taxi or auto-rickshaws from all nearby locations.