UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Ajanta Caves

Built In: In second century BC..
ajanta cave Year of Inscription: 1983

Reason for Inscription : Criteria number (i), (ii), (iii) and (vi). Ajanta Caves are precious example of creative brilliance of man. These caves are the unique illustrations of prehistoric traditions, art and architecture.

Category: Religious structure of Buddhists.

Ajanta caves are the set of 29 Buddhist cave temples. Concealed away in the hills of North-west India, around 200 miles way from the busy roads of Mumbai, a superlative gemstone of art and religion is sited.

ajanta cave

The Ajanta Caves shaped into the face of a mountain, appear as a horseshoe around the Wangorah River. These caves are the matchless epitomes of one of nation's distinctive artistic traditions- the rock cut temples. Some of these caves date back from the 2nd century BC. Comprising the Buddhist traditions of Theravada and Mahayana, Ajanta caves boast some of the most precious works of Buddhist art that is carved in it. These spellbinding caves are situated at 55 kms distance from the Jagaon city and just 105 kms away from Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Ajanta Caves- A brief summary Buddhism is mainly divided into two groups Hinyana and Mahayana. The Ajanta Caves perfectly display the fine line of transfer between these two Buddhist sects. The Hinyana sect did not use to revere any deity, and this group worship stupas and the similar rock forms to embody Buddha. On the other hand, Mahayana sect used the idols of different god and goddess they believed in. It is an interesting factor that the Ajanta Caves incorporate both the Prayer Halls (known as Chaitya) and monasteries. These caves also include both the types of Hinyana and Mahayana art, architecture, painting and scriptures. The caves representing the Hinyana are cave number 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15, while the caves related to Mahayana sect are numbered as 1, 2, 16, 17, 19, 26. Among the Mahayana caves, 19 and 26 are the prayer halls.

Caves number 1 and 2 display some fascinating paintings that depict Jataka Tales (Jatak Katha). Another common illustration of wonderful sculpture is the idol of Buddha delivering sermons in sitting position. Cave no. 10 also depicts Jatak Katha, and also brags some beautiful images of Buddha. The caves number 16 and 17 startlingly exemplify the peerless architecture through the images of the child and youth time of Lord Buddha, Jatak Katha, Saraswati Tales, etc. The caves numbering from 20 to 25 were used for residence in olden days. The Caves from 1 to 8, except number 4 and 7, and then from 14 to 17, are the monasteries.

How to Reach

By Air : Aurangabad (99 kms) is the nearest airport from Ajanta Caves.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Jalgaon (59 kms).

By Road: The caves are well linked by excellent roadway network to the major cities like Mumbai, Jalgaon, Pune, Shirdi, Ahmadnagar, Aurangabad, Nasik, Ahmedabad, Bijapur, Hydrabad and Indore.

Timings : 9 AM until sunset

Closed : Monday