Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
The World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora (near Aurangabad, Maharashtra) have rock-cut caves, hewn into the Sahyadri hills over 2,000 years ago by Buddhist monks. They contain some of the finest murals and sculptures India has ever produced.
Most of the beautiful cave temples at Ajanta were built during the Gupta period. There are beautiful murals (paintings done on walls) in the caves, depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. The caves are carved in the form of a Chaitya.
Ellora houses 34 caves out of which 12 caves are Buddhists, 17 Hindus and the rest are Jains. They are fine examples of how various religions co-exist in vicinity. The Chaityas and Viharas set in these caves were retreat to many Buddhist monks.
Ellora also has the 8th-century Kailashnath Temple, a freestanding monolith carved topdown out of mountain rock. The temple depicts scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The architecture of the Kailasa temple is breathtaking.
Impressive figures were carved out on the walls of these caves with the help of simple tools like chisels and hammer. Amidst various images and beautiful paintings there are also sculptures of calm and tranquil Buddha. Ajanta and Ellora caves portray the harmony between Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism through its sculptures.
These cave temples richly ornamented with sculpture and carved with paintings of exceptional skill is a must visit to understand the splendor which ancient Indian artisans possessed.
Aurangabad Travel Guide