Ajanta caves: magnificent paintings

This beautiful Buddhist caves are located in 100 km from Aurangabad, below you will find information about our day trip to Ajanta caves.

View over Ajanta caves

How to get there

We decided to use a public bus to get to Ajanta caves, so we went to central bus station in Aurangabad and asked for the bus to Ajanta (bus tickets are sold on board, ticket costs 120 Rupees (1.8$) per person one way) . Bus came in 10 minutes and we even had a sit, but later bus became so full with locals that there were three of us (together with very thin old hindu woman) sitting on two seats.

It took long 3.5 hours to get to Ajanta.. Bus stopped near the big parking area, where everybody should leave their vehicles. From there you will get directly to caves by government bus (tickets are sold on board and costs 40 Rupees per person one way). There are signs to shuttle bus stop, you should go along the stalls with souvenirs and food and very pushy vendors. The place seems to be very touristic!

Finally we were there, we bought tickets and ascended to the caves by stone staircases.

Entrance fee - 500 Rupees (8$) for foreigner, 30 Rupees for locals.
Timings: 9AM - 5:30PM. Closed on Mondays.

Ajanta caves

There are 28 caves carved in a horseshoe-shaped gorge. Ajanta caves are much more older than Ellora (Ajanta caves date from 2nd BC to 6th century AD), and it is said that Ellora’s rise led to Ajanta’s desolation.

Some caves have magnificent paintings on the walls and ceilings. You can’t get very close to the paintings and it is a twilight inside the caves so it is hard to behold the paintings in details but even from that distance they impress with colors and details. Ceilings are painted with nice patterns, while paintings on the wall describe the life and scenes from that time.

It is twilight inside the caves

 
Paintings on the wall

 
Paintings on ceiling

For us it is hard to imagine how much work was done to create these paintings. All paints are made up of natural materials and dyes. You will notice small holes on the floor, they were used as palettes.

But not only paintings are impressive, all caves are lavishly decorated with Buddha and others statues, carving pictures and columns. Some caves have decorated entrance.

Buddha and carving columns

 
Stupa and columns

 
Carvings outside of the cave

There is also one unique unfinished cave.

Unfinished cave

Ajanta caves are located in a beautiful nature surroundings, but it was too hot and we were so tired that we even didn’t go to the panoramic point overlooking all caves.

Ajanta vs Ellora caves

If you have limited time or budget and want to visit only one of these two caves this is my subjective opinion regarding this question.
Quick answer - I would choose Ellora caves. Please read my article about Ellora caves for more information about this masterpiece. 

Ellora caves advantages:

  • they are much more closer to Aurangabad than Ajanta. Unlike Ajanta caves are quite far away and you should either spend about 7 hours of a road (to get to caves and back), or pay a lot of money for taxi (that won’t be much faster as there is narrow road and busy traffic).
  • Ellora caves consists of three types of caves, so you will have an idea how buddhist caves look like (but of course there is no that marvelous paintings in Ellora as in Ajanta)

Ellora caves was more impressive for me than Ajanta. Probably that was because we were a little bit tired after 3.5 hours travelling in the bus, or because we have already visited Ellora before, or because it was too hot.

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