Expect your curiosity about the Ajanta and Ellora caves to be answered during your visit to the historical site on you tour to India. Created during the span from the 2nd century BC to the 8th century AD, the caves of Ajanta and Ellora are two of the most appealing tourist destinations in India.
Located near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the Ajanta and Ellora caves were discovered by a British Army Officer, named John Smith, with his group while they were on their hunting expedition in 1819. They were found lying amidst the Sahyadri hills, carved into the mountains, over the Waghora River. They demonstrate the story of Buddhism, covering a period from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were constructed as retreats of the Buddhist monks, who sermonized and performed religious ceremonies in the Chaityas and Viharas.
Some of the greatest tourist attractions in India, these caves have stunning figures carved out with the help of hammer and chisel by the saints. A lot of the caves display panels illustrating tales from the Jatakas - tales of the several incarnations of the Buddha. One can notice portrayals of nymphs and princesses among various other depictions.
Around 30 kms from Aurangabad are sited the 34 Ellora caves. They are engraved into the sides of a basaltic mount. The facades and finely decorated interiors show some of the excellent examples of cave - temple architecture. Carved during the 350 AD to 700 AD, these structures depict the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The 17 of them in the centre are dedicated to Hinduism, 12 caves to the south to Buddhism and the 5 caves to the north to Jainism.
The Kailasa temple in Cave 16 is considered to be one of the finest architectural wonders with the entire composition chiseled out of a monolith. This peak, believed to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva, is perhaps the world's largest monolith. Its pavilion, assembly hall, gateway, sanctum and tower, are all created out of a single block. Unlike most of the other temple constructions that begin from the bottom, this sculpture starts from the very crown and the sides. The Dumar Lena cave, devoted to Lord Shiva, bears semblance to the famous cave - temple at Elephanta.
The Jain caves are positioned roughly a mile away from the Kailasa temple, among which Cave 32 has a stunning shrine decked with fine carved forms of a yakshi on a lion under a mango tree and a lotus flower on the roof. Caves 32 and 34 have the stately statues of Parasnath. The other Jain caves have the illustrations of Tirthankaras, and one of them, even flaunts a seated figure of Mahavira.
Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad Caves and Panchakki (WaterMill) are some of the other tourist attractions in Ajanta and Ellora.
Now that you are well aware about Ajanta and Ellora caves, you can go for your trip to the beautiful tourist site.
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