Ajanta Ellora Caves - Aurangabad

Tourists guide & tips for visiting Ajanta and Ellora Caves

In September 2018 I had an opportunity to visit both Ajanta and Ellora caves are in Aurangabad, India. here are a few tips for tourists from our experience to help tourists have a safe and enjoyable visit to these world renowned caves. Both Ajanta and Ellora Caves are located in Aurangabad in the Indian State of Maharashtra, The Caves date back to 2nd century BC and 8th century AD and are one of UNESCO world heritage site. Ajanta and Ellora caves are about 66 kilometers from each other. I am going to avoid a history lesson for readers and post information most tourists would be interested in to help them get the most from their visit to these ancient caves. Both Ajanta & Ellora Caves offer tourist an opportunity to view superb sculpture and architecture.    Most people visit both Ajanta & Ellora caves and a visit to both locations is highly recommended as they each offer a unique experience of their own.

Difference between Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Ajanta Caves are renowned for the Buddhist paintings and sculptures in the caves. The caves are made in mountains. In Ajanta caves people will see the unique wall paintings, whereas Ellora caves are famous for their architectural designs and sculptures carved inside the caves. Ellora caves highlight there religious systems of India, namely Buddhists, Brahmins and Jains. Carvings of Gods and Goddess of these religions are present in these caves. Many paintings are fading due to age and some sculptures have deteriorated noticeably.

Should I hire a guide at Ellora Caves?

Hiring a guide at Ellora is optional, unless you are interested in Indian historical facts there is no point in hiring a guide. There are two types of guides I found at Ellora. Licensed and unlicensed the difference being the price! Which was three to four times of the amount charged by unlicensed guides who offer the same service. When we visited there was only one licensed guide standing near the ticket counter. As you enter the area many unlicensed guides will approach tourists. You need to pay them after the tour. My wife and I opted for the unlicensed guide. 

Getting to Ellora Caves

The caves are located about 28 kilometers [18 miles] from the city of Aurangabad. When booking a hotel online do not think getting a hotel near the caves is a plus point. A hotel near Ellora caves may sound like a plus point but do realize you will be away from the main city. My wife and I stayed at Hotel Rama International in Aurangabad and the distance from the hotel to Ellora caves is about 32 kilometers about an hour and a half to drive considering the roads in India. The distance to Ajanta Caves from this hotel is around 100 kilometers, plan for an approximately 3 hour drive to Ajanta Caves parking area. From the parking area visitors take a bus to go to the actual cave area. The bus ride is about 20 minutes.

Tips of visitors of Ajanta and Ellora Caves

When planning your  itinerary to visit the caves, keep in mind that Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays and Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Take a small flashlight. The caves inside are dark and to see the painting and sculptures clearly a flashlight does help. If you plan on hiring a guide, they usually will have a small flashlight. Take bottle of drinking water. Many hawkers sell water bottles but it is always better to buy water bottles from reputed shops to avoid buying tap water sold as filtered water. There is no requirement to remove shoes when entering Ajanta & Ellora caves. However wear comfortable shoes as lots of walking is involved. In Ajanta there are many stairs to climb to reach various caves. Those unable to walk can hire porters who carry the tourists as they sit on a sedan chair. The approved rate for sedan chair porters is Rupees 1500 per trip which is about 22 US dollars. One person can sit on the chair. Four porters have to share the Rs. 1500 and also pay a small amount to the contractor from whom they rent the sedan chair. These porters work hard and generally have to wait a few days to get a customer. They come from nearby villages as there are no other jobs they can find. Please do not bargain with them and tip them generously. Ellora Caves location does NOT have proper washrooms. Ajanta Caves however had very good and clean washrooms. Go prepared as you may be there for at least four hours! [see photo of Ellora & Ajanta caves washrooms/restrooms at end of page] Ajanta caves restrooms are clean and at par with western standards. Use the restrooms before starting to walk up to the caves. No washrooms are available in the caves area. There are a total of 34 caves in Ellora. Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist, there are 17 caves that represent Brahmanism and caves 30 to 34 belong to the Jain group. The Jain caves are about a kilometer away from the other caves and you will need to take a bus or taxi to get there. Ajanta Caves has 30 rock cut out caves that have been excavated in a panoramic horseshoe shape. The caves highlight various phases of Buddhism and offer tourists a chance to see some of the finest examples of early Buddhist sculptures and paintings. Cave 26 shows the cycle of rebirth of Buddha through various sculptures and paintings on the walls and pillars of the cave. Caves have numbers outside to guide visitors. [see photo] cave 10 and 11 photo Don’t miss cave 16 which is the highlight of Ellora and features The Kailasa Temple dedicated to lord Shiva. This temple is carved in the mountain from top to bottom and is considered to be the largest single gigantic rock excavation in the world. Go on top of the hill to get a great view of this magnificent work of architecture.

Ajanta Caves & Ellora Caves timings

Ajanta and Ellora caves are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Ajanta caves closed on Mondays Ellora caves closed on Tuesdays

Few Photographs from our visit to Ajanta Ellora Caves in September 2018

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Complete Touring Guide for exploring India
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Ellora-Caves-Aurangabad-Exterior-View Kailasa-Temple-View-from-top Ajanta-Caves-Horseshoe-shape Kailasa-Temple-View-from-top Ajanta-Caves-Shuttle-Bus-Stop Ajanta-Caves-exterior-view Porter- carrying-sedan-chair-Ajanta Washrooms-Restrooms-at-Ellora-Caves Washrooms-at-Ajanta-Caves Porters-with-sedan-chair-Ajanta-Caves Ajanta-Caves-interior-of-a-cave Cave-10-Entrance-Ellora-Caves

For More information

on touring Ajanta &

Ellora Caves

CLICK HERE 

Ajanta Caves Horseshoe shape
Kailasa Temple View from top
Kailasa Temple View from top
Ajanta Caves Horseshoe shape
Porters carrying sedan chair Ajanta
Porters with sedan chair Ajanta
Washrooms at Ajanta Caves
Washrooms at Ellora Caves
Ajanta Caves - interior of a cave
Hotel-Rama-International-Room
Our Room - Hotel Rama International
Cave 10 Entrance Ellora Caves
Porters-Carrying-Tourist-on-Sedan-Chair-Ajanta-Caves

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Ajanta Ellora Caves - Aurangabad

Tourists guide & tips for visiting Ajanta

and Ellora Caves

In September 2018 I had an opportunity to visit both Ajanta and Ellora caves are in Aurangabad, India. here are a few tips for tourists from our experience to help tourists have a safe and enjoyable visit to these world renowned caves. Both Ajanta and Ellora Caves are located in Aurangabad in the Indian State of Maharashtra, The Caves date back to 2nd century BC and 8th century AD and are one of UNESCO world heritage site. Ajanta and Ellora caves are about 66 kilometers from each other. I am going to avoid a history lesson for readers and post information most tourists would be interested in to help them get the most from their visit to these ancient caves. Both Ajanta & Ellora Caves offer tourist an opportunity to view superb sculpture and architecture.    Most people visit both Ajanta & Ellora caves and a visit to both locations is highly recommended as they each offer a unique experience of their own.

Difference between Ajanta & Ellora

Caves

Ajanta Caves are renowned for the Buddhist paintings and sculptures in the caves. The caves are made in mountains. In Ajanta caves people will see the unique wall paintings, whereas Ellora caves are famous for their architectural designs and sculptures carved inside the caves. Ellora caves highlight there religious systems of India, namely Buddhists, Brahmins and Jains. Carvings of Gods and Goddess of these religions are present in these caves. Many paintings are fading due to age and some sculptures have deteriorated noticeably.

Should I hire a guide at Ellora Caves?

Hiring a guide at Ellora is optional, unless you are interested in Indian historical facts there is no point in hiring a guide. There are two types of guides I found at Ellora. Licensed and unlicensed the difference being the price! Which was three to four times of the amount charged by unlicensed guides who offer the same service. When we visited there was only one licensed guide standing near the ticket counter. As you enter the area many unlicensed guides will approach tourists. You need to pay them after the tour. My wife and I opted for the unlicensed guide.

Getting to Ellora Caves

The caves are located about 28 kilometers [18 miles] from the city of Aurangabad. When booking a hotel online do not think getting a hotel near the caves is a plus point. A hotel near Ellora caves may sound like a plus point but do realize you will be away from the main city. My wife and I stayed at Hotel Rama International in Aurangabad and the distance from the hotel to Ellora caves is about 32 kilometers about an hour and a half to drive considering the roads in India. The distance to Ajanta Caves from this hotel is around 100 kilometers, plan for an approximately 3 hour drive to Ajanta Caves parking area. From the parking area visitors take a bus to go to the actual cave area. The bus ride is about 20 minutes.

Tips of visitors of Ajanta and Ellora Caves

When planning your  itinerary to visit the caves, keep in mind that Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays and Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Take a small flashlight. The caves inside are dark and to see the painting and sculptures clearly a flashlight does help. If you plan on hiring a guide, they usually will have a small flashlight. Take bottle of drinking water. Many hawkers sell water bottles but it is always better to buy water bottles from reputed shops to avoid buying tap water sold as filtered water. There is no requirement to remove shoes when entering Ajanta & Ellora caves. However wear comfortable shoes as lots of walking is involved. In Ajanta there are many stairs to climb to reach various caves. Those unable to walk can hire porters who carry the tourists as they sit on a sedan chair. The approved rate for sedan chair porters is Rupees 1500 per trip which is about 22 US dollars. One person can sit on the chair. Four porters have to share the Rs. 1500 and also pay a small amount to the contractor from whom they rent the sedan chair. These porters work hard and generally have to wait a few days to get a customer. They come from nearby villages as there are no other jobs they can find. Please do not bargain with them and tip them generously. Ellora Caves location does NOT have proper washrooms. Ajanta Caves however had very good and clean washrooms. Go prepared as you may be there for at least four hours! [see photo of Ellora & Ajanta caves washrooms/restrooms at end of page] Ajanta caves restrooms are clean and at par with western standards. Use the restrooms before starting to walk up to the caves. No washrooms are available in the caves area. There are a total of 34 caves in Ellora. Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist, there are 17 caves that represent Brahmanism and caves 30 to 34 belong to the Jain group. The Jain caves are about a kilometer away from the other caves and you will need to take a bus or taxi to get there. Ajanta Caves has 30 rock cut out caves that have been excavated in a panoramic horseshoe shape. The caves highlight various phases of Buddhism and offer tourists a chance to see some of the finest examples of early Buddhist sculptures and paintings. Cave 26 shows the cycle of rebirth of Buddha through various sculptures and paintings on the walls and pillars of the cave. Caves have numbers outside to guide visitors. [see photo] cave 10 and 11 photo Don’t miss cave 16 which is the highlight of Ellora and features The Kailasa Temple dedicated to lord Shiva. This temple is carved in the mountain from top to bottom and is considered to be the largest single gigantic rock excavation in the world. Go on top of the hill to get a great view of this magnificent work of architecture.

Ajanta Caves & Ellora Caves timings

Ajanta and Ellora caves are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Ajanta caves closed on Mondays Ellora caves closed on Tuesdays

Few Photographs from our visit to Ajanta

and Ellora Caves in September 2018

For More information

on touring Ajanta &

Ellora Caves

CLICK HERE 

Ajanta-Caves-Shuttle-Bus-Stop Ajanta Caves exterior view Washrooms-Restrooms-at-Ellora-Caves Washrooms-Restrooms-at-Ajanta-Caves Cave 10 Entrance Ellora Caves Porters-with-sedan-chair-Ajanta-Caves Porter- carrying-sedan-chair-Ajanta Kailasa-Temple-View-from-top Ellora-Caves-India-Exterior-View Kailasa-Temple-View-from-top
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