Ajanta Ellora Caves Travel Guide

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Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ranking among some of the world's most exceptional work of art, Ajanta and Ellora caves - the rock cut shrines, stand as the astounding evidences of ancient Indian architectural heritage. They are sited at Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The historical site was discovered and the rich treasure house of ancient Indian art was unearthed by John Smith, a British army official, in the year 1819. There are about 29 caves at Ajanta and 34 caves in Ellora.

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The Ajanta Caves
The group of caves of Ajanta stretches out deep into the rocks of Sahyadri Hills found above the Waghora River. It was discovered in the 19th century. The 29 caves portray the legends and anecdotes of Buddhism, ranging from the period 200 BC to 650 AD. Interestingly, these 29 caves were supposed to be the refuge of the Buddhist monks who rendered lessons on Buddhism in the Chaityas and Viharas, the apex centres of Buddhist learning. The dedicated Buddhist monks had deftly cut the hard rocky surfaces to draw out figures of Buddha, chiefly with chisel and hammer. Other than this, the art works also depict scenes from Jataka Tales (stories about the different incarnations of Lord Buddha). Ajanta has been considered as one of the World Heritage Sites as well.

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The Ellora Caves
The group of caves of Ellora is located at a distance of 30 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. It stretches out deep into the rocks of a basaltic hill. It stands as a breathtaking masterpiece of art and architectural effort upholding the faith of the three religions – Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Along with the exquisite interiors blend in rich work of fine arts, it stands as one of the optimum examples of cave-temple architecture. The 5 caves in the northern part are bestowed to Jainism, 17 at the centre to Hinduism and 12 towards the southern side belong to Buddhism. These figures, on the walls of the Ellora Caves, were engraved during the period 350 AD to 700 AD.

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