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Make India Tour --›Ajanta, Ellora & Elephanta Caves Tour

Ajanta, Ellora & Elephanta Caves Tour

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Duration : 10 Nights / 11 Days
Places to See : Aurangabad - Ajanta - Ellora - Mumbai - Elephanta

Ajanta- Ellora Temple, Aurangabad ToursAjanta Ellora Temple Tours will take you to one of the most outstanding rock-cut caves in India. Ajanta Caves are located at a distance of 100 km while the Ellora Caves are 26 km from district of Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra. Ajanta Caves are the Buddhist Caves while Ellora Caves features Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jain Caves. Both Ajanta and Ellora Caves are listed in UNESCO's World Heritage Guide.

On Ajanta Ellora Temple Tours, first we will study about Ajanta caves and then about Ellora Caves. Ajanta Caves were a chance discovery made in AD 1819 by a British hunting party after remaining in oblivion for centuries. The caves are sculpted out of a granite rock on the inner side of a 20 m long valley along the Waghora River. There are total of 30 caves including the incomplete ones at Ajanta. The Cave No. 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are the Chaitya Caves, i.e., Worship Halls and the rest are the Vihara caves, i.e., Monasteries. The caves are numbered according to their present access from the entrance and were not constructed in same order.

The caves were made in two distinct phases with a gap of almost four centuries between them. The caves of the first phase were constructed around 2nd century BC while the caves of the second phase were constructed by the Vakatakas and the Guptas. The caves are renowned for their fine rock-cut architecture as well as exquisite paintings on the walls of the caves. The incidents from Buddha's life, Bodhisattvas and the Jatakas comprises the themes of the paintings. Each cave was accessed from the riverfront by individual staircase in the original construction.

The paintings on the walls of Ajanta Caves are made from the tempera technique, i.e., they are painted on a dry surface after a coating of 1 cm thick layer of a mixture made of clay, cow dung and rice husks is put on the wall. The artist painted after the final coat of lime was applied to produce the finished surface. The color was prepared from natural products.

Ajanta Ellora Temple Tours will also take you to the Ellora Caves. They were etched out of the upright face of a rock in a linear pattern. The Ellora Caves were constructed from the 5th to the 11th century AD. During such a long period of time, people from the three major religions, i.e., Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism used this site to build their temples. Ellora Caves has been listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage Site.

The Cave Nos. 1 to 12 are Buddhist caves and were built from 5th century AD to 7th century AD. The important Buddhist Caves are Cave No. 10, Cave No. 11 and Cave No. 12. Cave No. 10 is named after Vishwakarma, the Architect of the Gods as Vishwakarma Cave. Cave No. 11; known as Do Tal, is a three-storeyed structure built in the 8th century AD. The name Do Tal is a misnomer and was probably given as the ground floor was buried under debris and was not visible. Cave No. 12 is called Teen Tal, as it is a three-storey cave.

Of the Hindu caves, the most important cave is Cave No. 16 or the Kailasha Temple. The entire temple is carved out of a single piece of rock from top to bottom yet it gives look of a freestanding Dravida type of a temple. The temple is richly embellished with sculptures from Hindu mythology and epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The caves is named Kailasha Temple because of the masterpiece of a sculpture of Ravana attempting to lift the Mount Kailasha, the Abode of the Lord.

Ajanta Ellora Temple Tours concludes with the visit to the Jain Caves. The Cave No. 30 to 34 is the Jain Caves. These caves were the last phase of architectural activity in this site. Jain Caves are also huge, shapely and rich in decoration.

How to Reach

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Ajanta Ellora Temple Tours can be conducted conveniently from Aurangabad.

By Air: The airport is 12 km from Aurangabad with regular flights to all the major cities of India.

By Rail: There is a railway station at Aurangabad connecting it with major cities.

By Road: There are frequent bus and taxi services from Aurangabad to Ajanta Ellora Temple.

Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves, Mumbai TourOne of the major attractions of Maharashtra, the Elephanta Caves are situated near the metropolitan city of Mumbai. The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India. There are various rock cut temples present in these caves, which are as old as 5th century. The Elephanta island was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island.

The magnificent image of Sadasiva, a manifestation of Shiva, is carved in relief at the end of the north south axis. The stupendous 20 feet high image of the three headed Shiva, known as Trimurthy is a magnificent one. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Indian art. This huge image represents Panchamukha Shiva, whose only three faces are carved into the wall. It attracts your attention just as you enter the temple through the northern entrance.

Along with this image there are grand sculptured images of Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara and Uma Maheswara on the southern wall. Other sculptured images of Nataraja and andhakaasuravadamoorthy are to the west of the northern entrance and the images of Yogiswara and Ravanaanugrahamurthy are to its east.

How to Reach

The Elephanta Island can be reached only by boat. Ferry rides are available from the Gateway of India and it takes just 15 minutes to reach the Elephanta Island. It is one of the most adventurous ride as the boat cruise up and down the wavy sea making it a life time experience.

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