The Ajanta Caves dating back to 2nd century BC were carved out of the deep curved mountain side with the help of hammers and chisels by the assiduous Buddhist monks. There are total of 29 rock-cut caves which comprises of various paintings and sculptures depicting Buddhist religious art.
|Sculptures inside the rock cut caves|
Paintings done on the fragmented surface of walls, ceilings and pillars within the caves of Ajanta narrate many stories and events from Jataka, the tales about previous lives of Lord Buddha. Some incredibly beautiful paintings and sculptures that are housed within these caves include Bodhisattva Padmapani, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, The Birth of the Buddha and Thousand Buddhas.
|Carvings in Ajanta Caves - World Heritage Sites in India|
There are around 12 Buddhist caves, out of which cave 10 is a Chaitya hall and contain a 15 ft tall statue of Lord Buddha in a sermonizing pose. Next set of caves is dedicated to Hinduism. There are about 17 caves devoted to Hinduism. Among them the most popular is the Kailasanatha Temple (cave 16) which is entirely dedicated to Lord Shiva and considered as the largest monolithic structure in the world.
The rest 5 caves of Ellora represent Jain philosophy and traditions and were constructed with intricate details. The famous among these Jain caves is the Indra Sabha which is a two-storeyed cave and houses a monolithic shrine of Lord Mahavir. Every year during winters, Aurangabad Festival committee in association with MTDC organizes a classical dance and music festival known as Ellora Ajanta Festival to put spotlight on these architectural wonders.
|Ajanta Caves interior|
Of many modes to travel to Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, luxury trains offer perhaps the most wholesome experience. Both Deccan Odyssey and the Indian Maharaja rail tour takes the guests in supreme luxury of their elegant interiors to these world heritage rock-cut cave destination. For more details of these train journeys, you may like to visit the website of the Indian Luxury Trains.