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Taj Mahal
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Ellora Caves
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Pilgrimage in India World Heritage Sites

Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India

Information on Ajanta and Ellora - India, providing on-line reservation /booking for visit to Ajanta and Ellora on discounted rates, air/rail ticketing, car/ taxi / coach hire for Ajanta and Ellora Tour, package tour to Ajanta and Ellora and Hotel Booking in Maharashtra.

Click Here to Visit the world heritage site Ajanta and Ellora.

Ajanta and Ellora rock-cut caves of both the sites are world famous and illustrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. Ajanta dates from 100 B.C. while Ellora is younger by some 600 years. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 99 kms. From Aurangabad; a few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock, are 30 caves overlooking a gorge, `each forming a room in the hill and some with inner rooms. Al these have been carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. Here, for the Buddhist monks, the artisans excavated Chaityas (chapels) for prayer and Viharas (monasteries) where they lived and taught. Many of the caves have the most exquisite detailed carvings on the walls, pillars and entrances as well as magnificent wall paintings.

Ellora:

Ellora caves-waterfallThe cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of Aurangabad. Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas , or halls of worship, and Viharas , or monasteries, Hindu and Jai temples.

Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5 th and 11 th century AD, the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29).The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Interestingly, Ellora, unlike the site of Ajanta, was never ?rediscovered?. Known as Verul in ancient times, it has continuously attracted pilgrims through the centuries to the present day.

Ellora has been designed as a World Heritage Site, to be preserved as an artistic legacy that will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come.

Main attractions Ellora:

Kailasa Temple Ellora

The largest monolithic structure in the world
The other Buddhist caves as well as the first few Hindu caves are fairly unremarkable and do not prepare you for the magnificence of Kailasa Temple or Cave 16. Believed to have been started by the Rashtrakuta king, Krishna I, Its excavation must rank as an architectural wonder.

The temple is dedicated to Shiva and named for his mountain home in the Himalayas, the snow- peak Kailasa. The main shrine and the Nandi mandapa are built on a plinth, over 7.8 metres high, with its entire vertical surface carved with mythical animals and gargoyles.

The Main temple

This is flanked on either side by two free- standing pillars, soaring some 15.9 metres high. These gracefully proportioned pillars are believed to have once borne the trishul or trident of Shiva.

Two storeys of corridors have been carved into the mountain, ringing the temple on three sides. These corridors are studded with small alcoves, all containing a wealth of sculpted figures telling the tales of the great Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Among the narrative friezes is the descent of river Ganga, and one of Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa. The architectural style and intricate sculpture is similar to Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal that had been completed a decade before.

How to Reach Ajanta and Ellora

Air: Chikalthana airport at Aurangabad (30 kms) is the nearest airfield and is directly linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur.

Rail: Aurangabad, the closest railhead, is directly connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, and Bhopal. Alternatively you could take a bus or taxi to Jalgaon, a mainline junction from where you get faster express trains to Mumbai and Delhi.

Road: Aurangabad is connected to all major cities and towns by good roads. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation runs ordinary and luxury buses from here to Mumbai (392 kms)

Timings: 9 am to 5 pm, except Mondays and national holidays.

Best time to visit Ellora

October to March, although the monsoon months of July-August are also highly recommended for the heightened scenic beauty of the area.

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