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Aurangabad

INTRODUCTION
Ajanta caves are buddhist rock-cut cave monuments in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state. They lies in Western region of India and declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. These caves showcases painting and sculptural work which is considered as finest surviving example of Indian painting art and sculptural work. Their are about 30 such rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments, open for tourists. Among them 05 are "Chaitya Grihas" and remainings are "Viharas". All the caves are situated in horse-shoe shaped rocky valley. These caves are estimated to be built in phases from 2nd BCE to 7th AD. These monuments are first discovered by British officer in year 1819, when he was in a hunting expedition and by mistake he reached this site. Currently these caves are under supervision of Archeological Survey of India. They are easily accessible from Aurangabad (120kms) & Jalgaon (50kms). Throughout the year, tourists, especially Buddhist followers, visit this site.

Aurangabad Tourism

AJANTA CAVES
Ajanta caves are known worldwide for their architectural qualities, sculptural elegance and expressive painting work. These caves are excaved on U-shaped scarp of steep rock having height of approx. 76 meters. This rock overlooks narrow sinuous gorge through this water stream flows. Here 5 caves numbered 9,10,19,26 & 29 were Chaitya-grihas (sanctuary) and remaining caves are VIharas. In these caves, Buddhist monks used to stay in rainly seasons under seclusion and close to nature. Among all the caves, Cave-8 is the lowest one and Cave-29 is the highest one. These caves were built in two phases and they differ by a gap of 4 centuries. In early phase, 6 caves are excaved which are now numbered as Cave 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15A and remaining caves were made in later phase.

HISTORY
Ajanta caves were used as Buddhist monastery where students and monks do their study with lodging in recluse. It was close to nature and away from materialistic world. It is designed as collection of colleges linked to a central location. These caves were built in two phases. Here work started during the rule of Satvahana dynasty in 2nd BCE. First phase was of 2nd & 3rd century in which 6 caves are excavated in which 2 are "Chaitya grihas" and remaining caves are "Viharas". Chaitya Grihas are have beautiful mural paintings, ceiling and large windows. Earlier excavated caves are similar to the caves found in Deccan like Kondane, Pitalkhora, Nasik etc. Second phase begins after span of 4 centuries in which caves were made during rule of Vatakas which was most vigorous and artistic period and this fact is reflected in caves art. Most of the painting work in caves were done during this phase.

LOCATION
Ajanta caves are located in North Maharashtra state in West India. It geographical location is at latitude 19.87617 and longitude 75.343. These caves are located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state in West India. Caves are spread over the horse-shoe shaped hill which is part of Sahyadri hills. It is in North-central Maharashtra state. These caves are about 120kms from Aurangabad and 60kms from Jalgaon town and can be reached by road.

In the North, as the result of merger of 35 princely of Bundelkhand & Baghelkhand, Vindhya Pradesh came into being in April 1948 & in 1952 an elected ministry was formed with Rewa as its capital. The state of Bhopal came into existence in June, 1949 & only in 1952 a popular ministry was formed. The state of Madhya Pradesh formed on 1st November 1956 was a conglomeration of Mahakosal, Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, Bhopal state & Seronj sub division of the Kota District of Rajasthan. On 1st November 2001 Chhatisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. At present comprises of 45 district which are further subdivided into 264 tehsils & is the second largest state in India.

HOW TO REACH
Ajanta caves are located in North Maharashtra state in West India. It is towards Madhya Pradesh state border. It geographical location is at latitude 19.87617 and longitude 75.34331. Two cities can be considered best in reaching Ajanta caves i.e. Aurangabad (120kms) and Jalgaon (60kms). In between Aurangabad is well connected with good tourism infrastructure whereas Jalgaon is small town but located most suitably close to caves. More specific reaching information is given below: By Air: Nearest airport for reaching Ajanta caves is at Aurangabad city. It is just 120kms/03:00hrs and have direct flights from two important international airports i.e. Delhi & Mumbai, at regular interval. Both of these airports have good connectivity of all important places in India. After reaching Aurangabad airport, one can reach caves by surface drive.

DISTANCE CHART
LOCATION MAP
From
Distance
(in Kms)
Aurangabad 120
Jalgaon 60
Indore 400
Maheshwar 300
Burhanpur 150
Mumbai 500


By Train:
Nearest railway station for reaching Ajanta caves is at Jalgaon city (60kms) and second option is Aurangabad railway stations (120kms/03:00hrs). Here Jalgaon Junction railway station (Railway code: JL) have direct train connectivity with important cities & tourist destinations like Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra, Bhopal, Burhanpur, Gwalior, Jhansi, Goa, Pune, Bangalore, Satna, Varanasi, Allahabad etc. Similarly Aurangabad railway station (Railway code: AWB) is also well connected with cities like New Delhi, Bhopal, Agra, Gwalior etc. Railway connectivity of Jalgaon junction is better than Aurangabad station.

By Road: Ajanta caves have good road connectivity with Aurangabad and Jalgaon. Weather you are coming by flight or train, last journey will be by taxi as caves can be reached by road. It is little bit inside from Maharashtra State Highway-190 in 76 meter high U-shaped valley. One can travel by road from destinations like Indore (400kms), Mumbai (490kms), Mandu (370kms), Maheshwar (300kms), Burhanpur (150kms), Nagpur etc.

TOURISM
Ajanta caves are declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in year 1983. Similarly its nearby Ellora caves are World Heritage Site. Tourist from all over the world reaches Aurangabad city for visiting both the caves. Ajanta caves are purely Buddhist caves where you can find their religious believes, way of life, gracious sculpture work, mural paintings etc. Whereas Ellora caves are divided between Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions. To see how rocks have been given shapes into temples, statues, caves in large scale along with rare mural painting work, tourist from all over the world visits these places. These caves are important part of Buddhist tour packages. Aurangabad city offers good tourism infrastructure like good flight connectivity, hotels of all category, good road etc. For sightseeing, manual and audio guide service is available. Caves are open throughout the year due to which tourist comes to this place in any time of year as per their tour plan.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Ajanta caves are open throughout the year for tourists but closed on Every Monday. In any season of the year you can visit these caves. It has been observed that from October to April, tourists presence is more than other times of year due to good climatic condition and weather. Here Winter prevails from November to January and Summer season can be observed from March to June in which temperature touches more than 40°C in day time. Monsoon season is from June end to October. Here impact of Summer & Monsoon season is more than Winters due to which tourists prefers to visit during Winters till Autumn. According to convenience and wish, tourists can visit in any season of year.

CLIMATE & WEATHER
Content coming soon....
NEXT TO AURANGABAD
Ajanta caves are located in Maharashtra state in West India. Destinations that can be traveled by car, from Aurangabad are: Ajanta Caves, Shirdi, Burhanpur, Maheshwar, Mandu, Indore city, Nasik etc. Most of these destinations are either pilgrimage sites or heritage tourism sites.
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