The Ajanta and Ellora caves stand majestically exhibiting a glorious specimen of ancient Indian Architecture depicting the culture of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Located in Aurangabad, a town 30 kilometers away from Maharashtra in West India, the caves are chiseled out by hand into beautiful idols of gods, goddesses and other mythological characters. These caves used to be the resting place of the Buddhist monks who carved out these beautiful designs with hammer and chisel and frescoed the walls of the Chaityas and Viharas. These caves were totally in obscurity and remained covered in the Sahyadri Hills until discovered by a British officer. The site has been declared as the World Heritage Site and the paintings have provided inspiration to many renowned artists in India and abroad.
Ajanta caves, which forms an important tourist destination is located along the ranges of Sahyadri Hills on the Waghora River narrating the history of Buddhism from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built to perform various Buddhist rites and rituals in a peaceful ambience. These caves used to be the important seats of learning for the disciples who actively took part in manifesting their artistic activities in sculptures and frescos. All the figures carved out and the paintings narrate the stories of the reincarnation of Buddha.
Ellora Caves are also famous with the splendid cave paintings and the temples that are chiseled out from a basaltic hill. They are 34 in number and the interior adornment and the stone carvings present the finest form of the cave architecture and the accomplishment of the artist.
Carved out in the period from 350 AD to 700AD the structures represent the three religions of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. 12 caves located in the south are dedicated to Buddhism, 7 in the north to Jainism and the 17 caves in the centre are dedicated to Hinduism.
The Kailasha Temple which is carved out of a monolith is one of the famous architectural wonders and most attractive to the tourists. Believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, the name Kailash is attributed, which is the largest monolith in the world. One seems to get lost in wonder to imagine the huge structures of the gate, hall, pavilion and the tower chiseled out from a monolith.
These caves are open from morning till sunset due to the absence of lighting arrangement. Upon entering this world of art the time ticks on and one can't stop admiring this amazing creation of human being thousands of years back.
Other interesting sites of attractions like Daulatabad, Bibi-ka- Muqbara, Panchakki (a water mill), Lonar and Shirdi are worth visiting.
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