ELLORA CAVES TRAVEL GUIDE
Historical & Heritage
Ideal Trip Duration: 4 Hours/Half Day
Base Station: Aurangabad (28 Kms)
Nearest City to Ellora Caves: Aurangabad (28 Kms), Mumbai (344 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Ellora Caves: June to February
Peak Season: October to January
State: Maharashtra | District: Aurangabad
Ellora Caves Weather: Details Not Available
At a distance of 28 km from Aurangabad, 98 km from Ajanta Caves, 104 km from Shirdi, 176 km from Nashik, 253 km from Pune, and 344 km from Mumbai, Ellora Caves are ancient historical caves locally known as 'Verul Leni'. The caves are located near Verul on the Aurangabad-Chalisgaon road to the northwest of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The Ellora Caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Ellora is the most visited ancient monument and also one of the top Tourist places in Maharashtra. Ellora is also one of the top tourist places to visit near Aurangabad.
The caves at Ellora were carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 10th centuries AD. The carving work began around 550 AD, about the same time the Ajanta Caves were abandoned. The Ellora Caves were built at time when Buddhism was declining in India and Hinduism was beginning to reassert itself. The Brahmanical movement was especially powerful under the patronage of the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, who oversaw most of the work at Ellora - including the magnificent Kailash Temple built in 8th century. The last period of building activity took place in the 10th century, when the local rulers switched allegiance from Shaivism to Digambara sect of Jainism.
The Ellora Caves are an impressive complex of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain Cave temples. The caves have a slightly less dramatic setting than those at Ajanta, but more exquisite sculptures. The cave complex comprises of 34 caves that were hewn out of solid rocks of the Charanandri hills. The Ellora complex includes 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain Caves. Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist monasteries, chaityas and viharas, while caves 13 to 29 are the Hindu temples. Dating back to the 9th and 10th century, Caves 30 to 34 are the Jain shrines. The coexistence of structures from three different religions serves as a splendid visual representation of the prevalent religious tolerance of India.
The central attraction at Ellora is Kailash Temple (Cave16), which is the most remarkable. Shaped by hand from a single massive rock, it includes a gateway, exhibition area, square, hall, sanctorum and tower which bear testimony to the excellence of Dravidian art. The Kailash Temple is a stupendous piece of architecture, with interesting spatial effects and grand sculptures. It is believed to have been started by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (756-773).
Every year Ajanta-Ellora Festival is organised in Aurangabad to pay tribute to the legendary caves of Ellora, Ajanta and other historical monuments in the region. This grand ceremony is attended by the greatest artists of Indian art and culture. The cultural events include performances in classical and folk dancing, singing and instrumental music. Earlier the venue for this festival was Kailasa Temple of Ellora Caves; however, it has now been shifted to Soneri Mahal, which is a historical palace in Aurangabad.
Hotel Kailas which is located just opposite the Ellora Caves is the only accommodation option nearby. It offers cottages and hostel accommodation for the budget traveler. Most tourists prefer to stay in Aurangabad and do a day trip to Ellora which is 28 km away.
The nearest airport is at Aurangabad, 35 km away from Ellora Caves. Aurangabad Railway station is the nearest railhead to Ellora Caves. There are public & private buses from Aurangabad to Ellora Caves. Visitors can also hire a private car from Aurangabad city. Aurangabad is well connected by bus with Pune, Mumbai, Shirdi, Nashik, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, and Nagpur.
The best time to visit Ellora Caves is during the months of June to February while the peak season is from October to January. These are the best time to visit Ellora Caves, as the weather is really pleasant during these months.
Cave Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM on all days except Tuesdays.
Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 for Indians and Rs. 250 for Foreigners.