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Viva Holidays Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd. Home >> Tourist Attractions of India > Ajanta Ellora








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Chiseled during the span between the 2nd century BC and the 8th century AD, the Ajanta and Ellora caves are two of the most alluring tourist destinations in India. Your tour to India is, in fact, incomplete without a trip to this wonderful tourist site near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Discovered by John Smith, a British Army Officer with his group on their expedition in 1819, the caves of Ajanta and Ellora lay amidst the Sahyadri hills, carved into the mountain side, over the Waghora River.
Ajanta Ellora
They illustrate the story of Buddhism, spanning over a period from 200 BC to 650 AD. There are 29 caves which were built as isolated retreats of the Buddhist monks, who preached and performed religious rites in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient centers of learning of the Buddhist cultural movement. The saints carved out the stunning figures to decorate the walls of these structures with the help of hammer and chisel. A lot of the caves exhibit panels demonstrating stories from the Jatakas - tales of the several incarnations of the Buddha.

One can notice images of nymphs and princesses amongst others. At 30 kms from Aurangabad are located the Ellora caves, 34 in number. They are carved into the sides of a basaltic hill. The facades and finely designed interiors are some of the finest examples of cave - temple architecture. Carved during 350 AD to 700 AD, these structures depict the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The 17 in the centre are dedicated to Hinduism, 12 caves to the south are Buddhist and the 5 caves to the north are Jain.

The Kailasa Temple in Cave 16 stands as one of the greatest architectural wonders with the entire composition chiseled out of a monolith. This mountain, believed to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva, is probably the world's largest monolith. The pavilion, gateway, assembly hall, sanctum and tower, are all cut out of a single block. Unlike most of the other temple constructions that start from the base, the sculpture here starts from the very top and the sides. Though massive in size, it exhibits the most delicate and intricate works of art. The Dumar Lena cave is built in resemblance of the famous cave - temple at Elephanta, and is devoted to Lord Shiva.

The Jain caves are located almost a mile away from the Kailasa temple, among which Cave 32 has a beautiful shrine decorated with exquisite carved forms of a lotus flower on the roof, and a yakshi on a lion under a mango tree. Caves 32 and 34 house the majestic statues of Parasnath. The other Jain caves have the illustrations of Tirthankaras, and one of them, even has a seated figure of Mahavira. The Ajanta and Ellora caves gracefully convey the aspects of nobility, grace and serenity reminiscent of Buddha himself and his teachings.

Tourist Attractions in Ajanta Ellora Caves
The Ajanta Caves which depict the history of Buddhism between 200 BC to 650 AD have been designated as a World Heritage Site. The caves were mainly built as a worshipping and residing place for the Buddhist monks. The beautifully carved sculptures and paintings on the walls of these structures depict Buddha's life and also his lives in the previous births as detailed in the allegorical Jataka tales.

Other images such as court scenes, street scenes, animals and birds have also been ornately done. Five of the caves are chaityas or prayer halls and the rest are viharas or monasteries. Ajanta Ellora Caves In Aurangabad - The caves which are not numbered chronologically but in terms of access present the thoughts of two different schools of Buddhist followers, the Hinayana who depicted Buddha in the form of symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or a throne and the Mahayana sect which gave Buddha a human form.

Grishneshwar :
Though there are lots of tourist attractions in Ajantha Ellora Caves, the very famous spot is Grishneshwar which is the Shiva Temple is one of the twelve holy Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva, spread across the country. The temple situated a kilometer from the caves is deeply revered by the Hindus.

Khuldabad:
Situated at a distance of 3 km from the Ellora caves, the little town of Khuldabad is a holy place for the Deccan Muslims. It is also the final resting place of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb.

Daulatabad:
The another important tour spot is Daulatabad, whihc is the hill fort of Daulatabad, a stronghold of the Hindu dynasty of the Yadavas is situated about 13 km from Ellora. Earlier known as Devgiri, it was renamed Daultabad by Sultan Mohammad Bin Tughlaq in the 12th century.
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