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How To Visit Ajanta And Ellora


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Cris Kuo



India is a land of rich cultural heritage, and nestled within its boundaries are treasures that showcase the exquisite artistry and architectural brilliance of ancient times. Among these exceptional wonders are the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, located in the state of Maharashtra. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites have stood the test of time, captivating visitors from all over the world with their sheer beauty and historical significance.


The Ajanta Caves, dating back to the 2nd century BCE, are a collection of 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves adorned with intricate sculptures and exquisite paintings. These caves serve as a testament to the flourishing Buddhist culture that thrived in the region during that era. On the other hand, the Ellora Caves, constructed between the 5th and 10th centuries CE, showcase a harmonious blend of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain traditions, making them a symbol of religious harmony.


A visit to Ajanta and Ellora offers a unique opportunity to delve into the glorious past of India and experience the artistry that has captivated generations. This comprehensive guide will assist you in planning your trip, providing you with valuable information on how to reach the caves, the best time to visit, entry fees, and the key highlights of each cave complex. So, let’s embark on a virtual journey to Ajanta and Ellora, immersing ourselves in the grandeur of these architectural marvels.


Planning Your Trip

Before setting off on your adventure to Ajanta and Ellora, it’s essential to plan your trip meticulously to ensure a smooth and memorable experience. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your visit:

  1. Duration: Allocate at least two to three days to explore both Ajanta and Ellora properly. Each cave complex has a lot to offer, and rushing through them would not do justice to their magnificence.
  2. Itinerary: Create a detailed itinerary that includes the specific caves you want to visit, the order in which you want to explore them, and any additional attractions in the vicinity that you wish to include in your trip.
  3. Research: Prioritize conducting thorough research on the history, significance, and highlights of the caves. This knowledge will greatly enhance your appreciation of the art and culture embedded within these ancient sites.
  4. Guided Tours: Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights and stories behind the caves’ artwork and architectural elements. Their expertise will enrich your visit and help you truly grasp the historical context of the caves.
  5. Physical Fitness: Keep in mind that exploring the caves requires a fair amount of walking and climbing stairs. Ensure you are physically fit and wear comfortable shoes and clothing to make your journey more enjoyable.
  6. Photography: Confirm the photography rules and regulations at the caves in advance. While photography is generally allowed, certain areas or specific caves may have restrictions or require additional permits.
  7. Food and Water: Carry bottled water and some snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized during your exploration. It’s advised to eat a substantial meal before entering the caves, as there are limited dining options within the vicinity.

By taking these factors into consideration and planning your trip accordingly, you can ensure a seamless and enriching experience as you venture into the mesmerizing Ajanta and Ellora Caves.


Getting to Ajanta and Ellora

Reaching Ajanta and Ellora is relatively easy, thanks to the well-developed transportation network in Maharashtra. Here are the various modes of transportation to consider:

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to Ajanta and Ellora is the Aurangabad Airport, situated around 100 kilometers away. It is well-connected to major cities in India, making it a convenient choice for domestic travelers. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach your destination.
  2. By Train: Aurangabad Railway Station, located approximately 30 kilometers from the caves, is the nearest major railway station. Trains from various cities in India connect to Aurangabad, making it an accessible option for travelers. From the railway station, you can hire a cab or take a bus to Ajanta and Ellora.
  3. By Road: Ajanta and Ellora are well-connected by a network of national and state highways. Regular bus services operate from cities like Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik to reach these cave complexes. Additionally, private taxis and rental cars are available for a more flexible and comfortable journey.

Once you reach Ajanta or Ellora, you can easily explore the caves on foot. The two cave complexes are located around 100 kilometers apart, so it is essential to plan your transportation accordingly if you wish to visit both.


For those who prefer a hassle-free experience, guided tours and private transportation services are available. These options provide convenience and ensure a smooth journey to and from Ajanta and Ellora.


Remember to check the latest transportation schedules and availability, especially during peak travel seasons, to avoid any last-minute inconveniences. With proper planning and transportation arrangements, you can embark on a memorable journey to witness the magnificence of Ajanta and Ellora.


Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Ajanta and Ellora is during the winter months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. The temperatures are mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it conducive for exploration and outdoor activities. The monsoon season, from June to September, brings heavy rainfall to the region, which can hinder your visit and make the caves slippery and dangerous.


Visiting during the offseason, from April to May, is also an option if you prefer smaller crowds and are willing to bear the slightly warmer temperatures, which can reach up to 35°C (95°F). Nonetheless, it’s important to note that during this period, the weather can be quite hot and dry, so ensure you stay hydrated and carry sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.


Another factor to consider when planning your visit is the festivals and events that take place in the region. The festivals of Mahashivaratri and Buddha Purnima are celebrated with great fervor in and around Ajanta and Ellora, attracting a significant number of devotees and tourists. These festivals offer a unique cultural experience and a chance to witness the vibrant traditions of the local communities.


It’s recommended to check the local calendar and festival schedules when planning your trip to Ajanta and Ellora, as these events may enhance your overall experience and provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.


Regardless of the time of year you choose to visit, ensure that you pack appropriate clothing and accessories, such as a light jacket for the winter months or breathable clothing for the summer. Don’t forget to carry comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent to ensure your comfort throughout your exploration of the caves.


By considering the weather conditions, festivals, and personal preferences, you can determine the best time to visit Ajanta and Ellora and make the most of your experience at these remarkable cave complexes.


Entry Fees and Passes

When visiting Ajanta and Ellora, it’s important to be aware of the entry fees and passes required for entry to the cave complexes. Here is an overview of the fees and passes:

  1. Ajanta Caves: The entry fee for Indian citizens is INR 30 per person, while for foreign nationals, it is INR 500 per person. There is an additional charge for photography of INR 25 for Indians and INR 300 for foreign nationals. Visitors can also avail of a composite ticket (valid for two days) for INR 50 for Indians and INR 600 for foreign nationals. This ticket allows entry to all monuments at Ajanta, including the caves.
  2. Ellora Caves: The entry fee for Indian citizens is INR 30 per person, while for foreign nationals, it is INR 600 per person. Similar to Ajanta, there is an additional charge for photography of INR 25 for Indians and INR 500 for foreign nationals. The composite ticket (valid for two days) for Ellora costs INR 50 for Indians and INR 700 for foreign nationals and includes entry to all monuments within the Ellora complex.
  3. Other Charges: There may be additional charges for videography, as well as separate fees for special attractions, such as light and sound shows, if available at the caves. These charges may vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest information before your visit.

It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so it’s recommended to verify the current fees and charges on the official websites or with the respective authorities. Some discounts may be applicable for students, senior citizens, and children, so ensure you carry the necessary identification or documentation to avail of these discounts, if applicable.


Visitors can purchase the entry tickets at the designated ticket counters located at the entrance of the respective cave complexes. It is advisable to carry cash in Indian Rupees, as card payment facilities may not always be available.


By being aware of the entry fees and passes beforehand, you can plan your budget accordingly and ensure a hassle-free visit to Ajanta and Ellora Caves.


Exploring Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves are a magnificent display of ancient Buddhist art and architecture, and exploring them is like stepping into a mystical world frozen in time. Here are some key highlights and tips for an immersive experience:

  1. Cave Complexes: The Ajanta Caves are divided into two complexes, the Eastern Complex and the Western Complex. The Eastern Complex houses caves 1 to 8, while the Western Complex consists of caves 9 to 29. Each cave has its own unique design and features.
  2. Art and Sculptures: Marvel at the mesmerizing frescoes, intricate sculptures, and detailed carvings that adorn the cave walls and ceilings. These artworks depict various scenes from Buddhist scriptures, tales of ancient India, and everyday life during that era.
  3. Main Attractions: Some of the must-visit caves include Cave 1 (the Mahachaitya), Cave 2 (the magnificent double-storeyed cave), Cave 10 (the Chaitya griha with stunning paintings), and Cave 16 (the Kailash Temple, a monolithic structure carved out of a single rock).
  4. Guided Tours: Consider hiring a guide who can provide detailed insights and stories behind the artwork, as well as the historical and cultural significance of each cave. They can help you unravel the hidden meanings and symbolism within the paintings and sculptures.
  5. Photography: Photography is generally allowed inside the caves, but flash photography and tripods are prohibited. Respect the rules and regulations and ensure that your photography does not disturb other visitors or damage the delicate artwork.
  6. Footwear and Respectful Behavior: It is customary to remove footwear before entering the caves as a sign of respect. Be mindful of maintaining a peaceful and quiet atmosphere within the caves to preserve their sanctity.
  7. Time Management: Allocate sufficient time to explore each cave thoroughly. It’s advisable to start with the Eastern Complex in the morning and proceed to the Western Complex after lunch, as this route allows for a more convenient exploration.

Exploring the Ajanta Caves is a unique journey through time and artistry. Take your time, absorb the intricate details, and marvel at the ingenuity of the ancient craftsmen who brought these caves to life.


By following these tips and immersing yourself in the beauty of the Ajanta Caves, you can have a truly enriching experience and gain a deeper understanding of the artistic and cultural heritage of ancient India.


Exploring Ellora Caves

The Ellora Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a remarkable fusion of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art and architecture. Explore the intricately carved rock-cut caves to witness the exceptional craftsmanship of ancient artists. Here are some tips for a rewarding experience:

  1. Cave Divisions: The Ellora Caves are categorically divided into three main sections: Buddhist caves, Hindu caves, and Jain caves. Each section showcases unique architectural styles and religious symbolism.
  2. Highlights: Some standout caves include Cave 16 (Kailash Temple) – The highlight of the complex, depicting Lord Shiva’s abode, Mount Kailash, with intricate carvings; Cave 10 (Visvakarma) – A beautifully carved Hindu cave dedicated to Lord Shiva; and Cave 32 (Indra Sabha) – Known for its Jain sculptures and stunning ceiling paintings.
  3. Exploration Route: Start your exploration from the south end of the complex to visit the Hindu and Jain caves, and gradually make your way north to the Buddhist caves. This enables a chronological understanding of the development of the different cave styles.
  4. Art and Sculptures: Admire the detailed carvings and sculptures that depict various mythological stories, deities, and historical events. Take your time to appreciate the mastery of the artists who meticulously crafted these stone marvels.
  5. Photography and Preservation: Photography is generally allowed inside the caves, but flash photography, tripods, and touching the sculptures are strictly prohibited to ensure the preservation of the artworks. Respect these rules and help maintain the beauty of the caves for future generations.
  6. Guided Tours: Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide to provide insights into the historical, religious, and artistic significance of each cave. Their expertise will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Ellora Caves.
  7. Visitor Amenities: Ellora has well-maintained facilities, including restrooms, drinking water stations, and small food stalls. However, it’s recommended to carry a water bottle and some snacks for convenience.

The Ellora Caves offer a mesmerizing journey through different religious and cultural realms. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty and marvel at the grandeur of these rock-cut masterpieces.


By following these tips and embracing the spiritual and architectural wonders of the Ellora Caves, you can have a truly captivating experience and gain a deeper appreciation for the artistic heritage of ancient India.


Accommodation Options

When planning a visit to Ajanta and Ellora, choosing the right accommodation is crucial to ensure a comfortable stay. Here are some accommodation options to consider:

  1. Aurangabad: A popular choice for visitors to Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxury hotels and resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses and homestays, you’ll find ample options in this bustling city.
  2. MTDC Holiday Resort: Managed by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, this resort is located near the Ellora Caves and offers comfortable rooms amidst lush greenery. It’s a suitable choice for those seeking proximity to the caves and a peaceful ambiance.
  3. Guesthouses and Homestays: A charming alternative to hotels, guesthouses, and homestays provide a more personalized experience. You can choose from a variety of options where locals open their homes, offering a warm and authentic stay experience.
  4. Ajanta-Ellora Road: There are several accommodations available on the road connecting Ajanta and Ellora, making it a convenient choice for those who want to be closer to the cave complexes. These range from mid-range hotels to lodges offering comfortable amenities for travelers.
  5. Online Booking: Utilize various online travel platforms and websites to compare rates, read reviews, and book accommodations in advance. This enables you to secure the best deals and ensures availability, especially during peak travel seasons.

It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, particularly during weekends and holiday periods, to avoid any last-minute inconveniences. Additionally, consider factors such as proximity to the caves, access to transportation, and the availability of facilities and services that suit your needs.


Regardless of the accommodation option you choose, ensure that it meets your comfort and safety requirements and provides a pleasant retreat after a day of exploring Ajanta and Ellora.


By selecting the right accommodation, you can enhance your overall travel experience and make the most of your visit to these remarkable cave complexes.


Nearby Attractions

In addition to the mesmerizing Ajanta and Ellora Caves, the region offers a variety of other attractions that further enrich the overall experience. Here are some notable nearby attractions worth exploring:

  1. Bibi Ka Maqbara: Located in Aurangabad, Bibi Ka Maqbara is often referred to as the “Mini Taj Mahal” due to its architectural similarity. It is the mausoleum of Dilras Banu Begum, wife of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture.
  2. Daulatabad Fort: Situated in Daulatabad, this medieval fortress showcases impressive military architecture and a network of hidden passages. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and provides insight into the region’s history.
  3. Panchakki: Panchakki, also known as the Water Mill, is an intriguing historical complex in Aurangabad. It features a unique water-powered flour mill and houses the tomb of Sufi saint Baba Shah Musafir.
  4. Aurangabad Caves: These rock-cut caves are located just outside the city and offer a glimpse into the Buddhist art and architecture of the ancient period. The caves include intricate carvings and beautifully preserved paintings.
  5. Grishneshwar Temple: Situated near Ellora, the Grishneshwar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage site and boasts a distinct architectural style.
  6. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple: For those seeking spiritual solace, a visit to the famous Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a must. Located in the city of Shirdi, it is one of the most revered places of worship in India.

These attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, from architectural marvels to spiritual destinations, complementing the cultural exploration of Ajanta and Ellora.


It is advisable to plan your itinerary in advance and allocate sufficient time to explore these nearby attractions while considering their proximity to Ajanta and Ellora. Additionally, check the opening hours and any entry fees required for each site to create a seamless and well-rounded travel experience.


By incorporating these nearby attractions into your visit, you can gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural heritage of the region and create lasting memories.


Tips for a Memorable Visit

To make your visit to Ajanta and Ellora truly memorable, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research and plan your trip in advance, considering factors such as the best time to visit, transportation, accommodations, and the attractions you want to explore. This will ensure a smoother and more organized experience.
  2. Start Early: Arrive at the caves early in the day to beat the crowds and have ample time to explore each cave at your own pace. This will also allow you to capture photographs in better lighting conditions.
  3. Carry Essentials: Pack necessities such as drinking water, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a mobile charger to stay hydrated, protected from the sun, and ready to capture precious memories.
  4. Respect the Environment: The caves are ancient treasures, so it’s important to be respectful of the surroundings. Avoid touching the sculptures or paintings, refrain from littering, and follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the authorities.
  5. Be Mindful of Clothing: Dress modestly and appropriately, keeping in mind the cultural and religious significance of the sites. It’s advisable to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees out of respect for the sacredness of the place.
  6. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Carry water and snacks during your exploration, as food options inside or near the cave complexes might be limited. Staying hydrated and nourished will help you enjoy your visit without feeling fatigued.
  7. Engage with Guides: Hiring a local guide can greatly enhance your visit, as they can provide valuable insights, historical information, and captivating stories behind the caves’ artwork. Their knowledge will enrich your understanding of the cultural and artistic significance of Ajanta and Ellora.
  8. Take Your Time: The caves are a treasure trove of artistry, and rushing through them would dilute the experience. Take your time to appreciate the intricate details, observe the paintings, and soak in the historical ambiance.
  9. Embrace the Silence: The caves exude a serene and meditative atmosphere. Embrace the silence, put away distractions, and allow yourself to be fully present, immersing yourself in the spiritual ambiance of these ancient sites.

By following these tips, you can ensure a memorable and fulfilling visit to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, immersing yourself in the wonders of ancient art, culture, and spirituality.



Ajanta and Ellora Caves are truly magical destinations that transport visitors back in time to witness the grandeur of ancient India’s artistic and architectural brilliance. The cave complexes, with their intricate sculptures, stunning paintings, and rich historical significance, offer a captivating journey into the past.


By planning your trip meticulously, considering the best time to visit, exploring nearby attractions, and selecting suitable accommodations, you can ensure a seamless and enriching experience. Be respectful of the heritage and environment, engage with knowledgeable guides, and take your time to truly appreciate the intricate details and stories woven within the caves.


Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, a spiritual traveler, or simply curious about the wonders of the world, Ajanta and Ellora will leave an indelible impression on your soul. As sunlight filters through the ancient rock-cut facades, illuminating the carefully preserved masterpieces, you will find yourself transported to an era of artistic brilliance, cultural heritage, and spiritual devotion.


Embark on this journey of exploration and discovery, and let the Ajanta and Ellora Caves unravel the mystique of ancient India, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime. Get ready to witness the wonders of the past and immerse yourself in the fascinating tales crafted within the depths of these magnificent cave complexes.