Explore the Famous Ajanta Caves


Ajanta Caves, situated at Aurangabad district of Maharashtra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 30 splendid and ancient rock cut caves. A huge waterfall at its head gives it a stunning look. The caves are surrounded by jungles and these jungles concealed the existence of the caves for a long period until they were rediscovered in 1819, when a British officer John Smith,  accidentally found them while on a tiger hunt.

The Best Of Ajanta Caves

The earliest and the best examples of Buddha paintings in India can be found at the Ajanta caves, dating back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The paintings and murals here show scenes from Buddha’s life, the Jataka tales, and also include depiction of court scenes and captivating details of daily life of 5th and 6th century AD. The colours used are from plants and minerals are still rich in shades.

The  caves where the most magnificent and world famous paintings can be seen are at  Cave nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, 16,17 and 26. Typically the caves here are of two types – Chaityagrihas (prayer halls) and Viharas (monasteries)

Cave 1

The first cave of Ajanta, the cave 1 is famous for its splendid murals.  Above the huge verandah of the cave one can see depictions of scenes from Buddha’s life, the ceiling of this cave is supported by superbly painted and craved pillars. This is a 5th century vihara with some of Ajanta’s most evocative murals.

caves of ajanta

Cave 2

Here one can see a magnificent facade  craved with the images of Naga kings and their subjects, this is hall where the main shrine has a fascinating painted ceiling.

caves of ajanta

Cave 9

This is a typical Chaityagriha, with cravings that look like lattice work windows. There are huge Buddha figures on the sides from 5th century AD.

caves of ajanta

Cave 10

This is believed to be Ajantas oldest cave dating back to 2nd century BC and is also one of the best Chaityagrihas. A very old mural depicting a prince worshiping a Bodhi tree can be seen here.

caves of ajanta

Cave 16

This cave has some of the most outstanding paintings depicting Nanda – Buddha’s half brother. There are sculptures of beautiful maidens flanking the doorways.

Cave 17

This cave has one of the largest number of paintings. The entrance to the inner shrine is decorated with various Buddha figures, gods , goddesses and lotuses.

caves of ajanta

Cave 26

This is a complex with many caves that form both Viharas and Chaityagrihas. These caves show the full splendor of Ajanta’s sculptural work. Here you can see the famous Parinirvana, a 7 ft  stone craving of reclining Buddha with his eyes closed as if in sleep.

caves of ajanta

Important Tourist Info

Admission ticket: 10 INR (Indian citizen), 250 INR (Non – Indian citizen), 5 INR (Light charges),  25 INR  for Camera. { These rates are based on current available Rate chart and subjected to change in future}

The entry is from 8 AM – 5 PM  (Monday Closed).  The visitors are allowed entry to the caves by Batches of 40 or less at one time and cannot spend more than 20-30 minutes inside. No one is allowed to touch or go near the paintings. Photography with a stand and flashlight is prohibited.

Stay and Food

There are no places to stay in Ajanta , except for a MTDC lodge nearby. There are many good hotels and heritage resorts in Jalgaon and Aurangabad in all budgets.

In Aurangabad  other than typical Maharashtrian food like Misal and Vada Pav,  you can also gorge on succulent Hyderabadi and north Indian food like Nawabi biriyanii, Kebabas and Pulao.

Reaching Ajanta Caves

Aurangabad domestic airport at 100 km is nearest to Ajanta caves.It has daily direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai international airports. Jalgaon, at about 60 kms,  is the nearest railway station and is connected to almost all major cities of India.  Many buses and private taxis ply from Aurangabad and Jalgaon to Ajanta. But you need to get down a a few kilometers from the caves. The only way to reach the caves is by shuttle buses and then you need to explore on foot.

 All Image source Wikipedia