How to Plan for Ajanta & Ellora Caves

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By the name it seems like “Ajanta & Ellora Caves” are one and together, but here is the fact. They are in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra and approx 100 kilometers far from each other. They are not just caves but magic created by human hands and a gift to whole humanity. Being one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, it is quite not suggested to miss the magic. Here is the guide for How to plan for Ajanta & Ellora Caves.

First Stop Aurangabad:

You have to reach Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Which is well connected with Mumbai, Hyderabad, Agra and New Delhi by train and you may find buses from Goa as well. Ensure that you are in Aurangabad a day before the tour or early morning. So, you can experience the caves and other attractions at its best. If you are arriving a day before the tour ensure to book hotel for the night stay as Aurangabad is not to expensive city you may get hotels at reasonable price.

The Day of Ellora Caves:

It is suggested to start early for the Ellora caves. To visit all the places in Aurangabad you can either hire a tuk tuk or a cab/taxi. Tuk tuk may charge you somewhere around INR 800-1000 and cab/taxi may charge around INR 1500-2000. As I hired a tuk tuk, I saved some money, thanks to Mohammad bhai who was our tuk tuk driver. Start early as Ellora Caves are 35 km from Aurangabad City and if you are art and history lover you will take more time like me. Grishneshwar Temple is a surprise for other like me, it is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga abode of Lord Shiva, which is 1.5 km ahead of Ellora Caves. Visit the temple, if you want and head back to Ellora Caves.

Timing & Price:

Open from sunrise to sunset
Closed on Tuesday

Entrance Fee:
You can book the tickets online: https://asi.payumoney.com/#/
Click other ASI Monuments - Select the circle Aurangabad - Select the caves

Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 30 per head.

Others International Travelers: Indian Rs. 500/- per head
(children up to 15 years free)

Suggestions for Ellora Caves:

Ellora caves are set of more than 30 caves dedicated towards Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism religion. These caves are example of peace, unity and integrity for which our ancient societies stand for. Try to be at the gate of Cave No. 16, Kailasa Temple by 10.00 Am so that you can get at least 4-5 good hours for all these caves. Feel love at first sight with the first step in Kailasa Temple.

  • It is suggested to wear Sandals or sleepers as you need you put them outside of many caves.
  • Carry a bottle of water, as you are going to walk long. Although there are drinking water taps if you are comfortable with.
  • If your pocket allows, take a government guide. So that you will not miss thousands of amazing stories associated with the caves.

Other Places of Interest in Aurangabad:

Once your date with magical history is over you may start driving back to Aurangabad. It is suggested to have some lunch on the way back. The drivers may ask you to visit some emporium stores, as none of them are government, it is not suggested to visit till you really need some local saris or Himroo textile or handicrafts. Visit Daulatabad fort on the way back, yes this is the fort which you will see on your way to Ellora Caves also. Fort is situated on a hill and along with still strong walls saying its stories of wars, victories and kings. “Daulatabad” stands for the place of wealth, where Daulat means wealth. You need at least 1.5 hour to explore the fort completely. You may also visit Aurangzeb's tomb, a Mogul Emperor, loved by few and hated by many. The tomb is near Daulatabad fort. Further move for Bibi ka Makbara, a tomb dedicated to love of mother. Tomb was constructed by Auranzeb’s son for his mother. A small twin of Taj Mahal, you may feel surprised once you enter the main gate. Please send me the picture of your surprised face. It is suggested to take rest after all these explorations as you need to start early tomorrow morning for Ajanta Caves. Although driver of your vehicle may suggest few more places such as old fountain area. Choice is all yours. There is one more set of caves near city, Pandav Caves. You can visit Pandav caves, but you need to cut the other things from your list of you have to give your next day for the caves, which is not suggested.

The Day of Ajanta Caves:

Another amazing day is here to fill your life with unexpected magic. You can either board buses for Ajanta village from bus stand of Aurangabad starting from 06.00 Am and many buses after that. I took this bus for traveling to Ajanta. You can also hire a cab/taxi which may charge approx INR 3000 for round trip as the distance is more than 100 km. Try to reach as early as possible so that you can enjoy the caves with peace as the day goes on crowd start increasing in the caves. All these caves are dedicated to Buddhist faith and created during 2nd-3rd BC. Paintings, carving and dedication is going to hypnotize you, mind it. These caves were unknown to humanity for several hundred years when in 1800s a group of British offices discovered them while hunting in jungle.

The bus or taxi will drop you on the main gate of entrance point where you will find ticket counter and a small handicraft market, which is worth purchasing something, but don’t buy trash and overpriced items. You have to board another bus by caves authorities to travel another few kilometers in the jungle, ticket of which I bought for 15 rupees in 2015. Invest good 5 to 6 hours for the caves.

  • If your pocket allows, it is suggested to take a government authorized guides. So that you will not miss the untold stories, which caves are telling aloud or you can buy the mini publication of the cave at the book shop once you climb up the hill near cave.
  • It is strongly suggested to wear sandals/slippers or floaters as you need to put them off at most of the caves.
  • You can't use flash of the camera, your simple point to shoot cameras are useless. You need a DSLR, for shutter speed thingy.
  • Use of tripod for camera is not allowed inside any cave. So, don’t carry them. Till you are not going there for documentary or movie shooting with extra payment to authorities.
  • Purified water is available at most of the places, so no need to worry.
  • When you will finish you will finish all the caves, and go to park near river down. You may find few people selling few articles like statues and other stone accessories. Don’t buy from them, they all are overpriced. If you want to buy, cut the rate down by 80%.

Timing & Price:

Open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Closed on Monday

Entrance Fee:
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 30 per head.

Others International Travelers: Indian Rs. 500/- per head
(children up to 15 years free)

 

Once you are done with all the magical caves, you can have something to eat at the café near the starting point of the caves. You can either go back to Aurangabad or stay MTDC resort in Fardapur village, which is 4km from Ajanta caves main gate; several decent options to stay are available in the village. You can also travel further to Jalgaon, which is approx 60 km from Ajanta. You can easily get buses for Jalgaon bus stand from main gate of Ajanta. Don’t go to fardapur village to board the bus, it’s convenient to board one from main gate. Jalgaon is well connected with Mumbai, Jodhpur, New Delhi and Hyderabad.

I hope this small guide on ‘How to plan for Ajanta & Ellora Caves’; will help you to plan you amazing journey to the magical caves of India, which should be in your “Not to miss” list. You can contact me if you need any more help with planning for Ajanta & Ellora Caves.

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