Best Time To Visit
- Throughout the year
The ancient rock cut caves of Ajanta are located at about 104 km from
Aurangabad. The caves belong to the period of 2nd century BC to 6th century
AD. The religion of Buddhism existed that time, so the caves of Ajanta are
of Buddhist heritage. But with time when the religion of Buddhism began to
decline, the caves of Ajanta got buried under the debris in the jungle till
1819, when a British cavalry officer, John Smith rediscovered them.
On rediscovering the officer found out a series of carved dramatic caves.
There are around 30 caves , some of which are unfinished. Of the Ajanta
caves, five are chaityas or prayer halls and the rest are viharas or
Art & Architecture
caves of Ajanta are separated from each other by a good four hundred years.
The caves of Ajanta belong to two schools of Buddhist thoughts -Hinayana and
Mahayana. Hinayana is the older schools, where Buddha was represented only
in symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or a throne. The Mahayana is
however the new school which did not shy away from giving the Lord a human
- The caves numbered 9, 10 ( both chaityas)
8, 12, 13 and 15 ( all viharas)are the prominent Hinayana caves. The
sculpted figures in these caves are dressed and coiffed in a manner, very
much similar to that of the stupas at Sanchi and Barhut. This shows that the
Hinayana caves belong to the first and second century BC.
- The Mahayana monasteries include1, 2, 16
and 17, while the chityas are in caves 19 and 26. Cave 16 is the largest
cave at Ajanta. Whereas Cave 17 houses the finest and largest number of
murals. The caves are not numbered in a chronological form. The sculptures
and paintings in the caves presents in detail the life of Buddha as well as
the lives of Buddha in his previous births. Various scenes from the history
like court scenes, street scenes, cameos of domestic life and even animal
and birds studies can be found on the walls.
Feather to the cap
The 1983, turned to be a golden year for Ajanta as during this year it was
designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People in large number visit
this place every year.
Flash photography is strictly forbidden in the caves. The caves are
maintained by applying chemical treatment on the rocks for longer life.