Earth : Asia : South Asia : India : Western India : Maharashtra : Ellora
Ellora Caves are an impressive complex of rock shrines, representing the three different faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, that were excavated between the 5th to the 13th centuries CE. The complex is in Maharashtra State, about 24km from Aurangabad.
- The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Aurangabad is the nearest airport, and there are daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai. It's a domestic airport 15km away and can be reached directly from Delhi,Mumbai, Jaipur and Udaipur.
- Aurangabad is the nearest railway station, and there are regular trains from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Amritsar etc. There is an overnight train from Mumbai.
Two trains, the Tapovan Express and the Devgiri Express, depart daily from Mumbai to Aurangabad.
- Aurangabad is the nearest location for inter-state buses.
- Aurangabad to Ellora is around 30km. One can reserve Auto which will charge around IDR350-400. Or else take Govt Buses from Central bus stop (Aurangabad).
Jalgaon (59km from Ajanta) is the nearest station where you should alight while coming from Delhi or Mumbai.
- There are numerous bus services running to Ellora from Aurangabad Central Bus Station, but the Maharashtra State Tourism Corporation (MTDC) Bus Service is most reliable.There is a luxury bus tour departing daily (except Tuesdays) at 9:30AM from the MTDC office on Railway Station Road. In addition to Ellora, the tour also includes several famous sites in Aurangabad.
- Taxis of all types are available from Aurangabad. Daulatabad Fort is on the way to Ellora.
The caves are open 09.00-17.30 but remain closed on Tuesday. both caves remain open on all national holidays. Entry IDR10 for Indians, IDR250 for foreigners with free entry for children below 15 years. Still photography si free, but video photography costs an extra IDR25
The 34 caves at Ellora and the 29 caves at Ajanta remained in obscurity for over a millennium, until John Smith, a British Army Officer, accidentally stumbled upon them while on a hunting expedition in 1819. Ajanta and Ellora are protected monument sites under the Archaeological Survey of India and has been included in the World Heritage list of monuments.
Visitors who can not visit all the caves should visit at least cave 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 21, 29, 30, 30A, 31, 32, 33, 34. Inscriptions were found at cave 15, 21, 31
The murals and frescoes adorning the walls of these structures depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD. Many of the caves have panels depicting stories from the Jatakas, a treasure trove of stories about the several incarnations of the Buddha. This makes the Ajanta caves a fascinating spiritual tourist attraction for Buddhists and scholars and researchers of Buddhism.
Cave number 1 houses some of the best-preserved wall paintings here, which include two impressive Bodhisattvas, Padmapani and Avalokiteshvara. Caves 2, 16, and 17 also contain amazing paintings, while caves 1, 4, 17, 19, 24, and 26 boast of some of the most divine sculptures. The flying apsara painting in Cave 17, and the image of the Buddha preaching, also in cave 17, are two unforgettable works of art in Ajanta. The Ajanta caves and the treasures they house are a landmark in the overall development of Buddhism in India and in general.
Archaeological Survey of India book: World Heritage Series Ellora IDR99
Hotel Kailash is an older hotel and has an attached Beer Bar. Hotel Manor, Hotel Ambience and several other Indian restaurants are along the road to Aurangabad from Ellora. Hygiene and spice level may be an issue for some.
- Hotel Kailas  is the closest hotel to Ellora Caves and is a few meters from the entrance. The hotel offers cottages and standard rooms. A few of the cottages overlook the caves but are priced slightly higher than the normal cottages.
- Alternatively, one can stay at Aurangabad and visit the caves on a day trip.
- Ellora Heritage Resort, Ellora Village, Aurangabad District (near MTDC), ☎ +91 902 828 2885, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 10:00. European themed cottages, western style bathrooms with solar heating. Grassy lawn space offering tents, some large with a western bed. Also providing space for backpackers with their own tents. Restaurant includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. Garden with 180 degree views of the Ellora Mountain, in which the Historical Temple Caves have been carved. IDR1800.