The Ajanta Ellora caves are fine specimens of ancient rock-cut cave temples. Located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, the Ajanta Ellora caves are UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites. Even though Ajanta and Elora are often mentioned in the same breath, the cave temple clusters in these locations are different from each other in many aspects.
While the caves in Ajanta are primarily Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhist
caves, the Ellora cave temples belong to Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
religions. There are variations in the architectural and sculptural
dimensions as well. In comparison to the Ajanta caves embellished with a
profusion of intricate paintings and sculptures, the Ellora caves are of
a mundane variety drawing inspiration from the Vajrayana school of
The Ajanta caves remained hidden from public knowledge until a unit of
British soldiers from the Madras Army stumbled upon them in 1819 during
a hunting expedition. In contrast, the Ellora caves, due to their
location on the ancient north- south trade route or the dakshinapatha,
had served as a refuge for traders, priests and pilgrims who plied the
route to the western ports. In fact, the Kailash was used for worship
until the 19th century.
The rock-cut Ajanta Caves are renowned masterpieces for their unique
architecture and the profusion of sculptures and paintings. The walls
and ceilings of the Ajanta Caves are chiseled with exquisite carvings
and paintings that chronicle the life of Lord Buddha.
The Ajanta caves are treasure troves of exquisite paintings that depict
scenes from Jataka tales and the life of Lord Buddha. Beautiful murals
adorning the walls, ceilings and the pillars bear testimony to the
versatility of ancient artistes.
Nestled amidst a lush green landscape, the Ajanta Caves are ancient
Buddhist caves hewn out of basalt rock formations. These caves are
located at the Lenapur village in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra
The Ellora caves represent a unique synthesis of Buddhist, Jain and
Hindu cave temples, all scooped out of the vertical face of the
Charanandri hills. Located in the Velur village of the Aurangabad
district in Maharashtra, the Ellora cave complex is home to 34 cave
temples and monasteries.
The crown jewel among the Ellora caves, the Kailash temple epitomizes
the zenith of ancient rock-cut architecture. Also known as the Cave 16,
the Kailash temple is an awe-inspiring edifice with its massive
proportions and exquisite carvings.