What’s carved out of rock and lies calmly in the shape of a horseshoe along the gorge of Waghur River? Ajanta Caves. These are the pride of Maharashtra. The UNESCO declared the caves as World Heritage Site in 1983. They represent one of the most precious heritage sites that connote ancient India.
Is it a cave or a canvas?
The site features a collection of paintings and sculptures – all encompassed in caves. You can also find temples that show Buddhist art. They are believed to be built from 200 BC to 500 AD.
Ajanta is not a lonely cave. It is a series of caves…and it is one of the many series of caves that spread across the grand Western Ghats of India. The other caves are Ellora, Karla, and Bhaja. If you talk of the biggest surviving collection of sculptures and wall paintings in India, this is it – Ajanta Caves.
Heritage tours to Ajanta and Ellora are definitely a saga of intrigue, eroticism, creativity, and mystery. Please come here with an open heart and mind.
Ajanta Caves lie 105 kilometers from Aurangabad in Maharashtra’s Marathawada region. This falls in West India.
Several original paintings of the cave have been recreated for the sake of tourists so that they can get a better view. All cave “strings” attract throngs of tourists, from India and abroad, every year. The charm does not die.
Whether you are traveling in a regular coach of a train or in a suite of a luxury train to Maharashtra, you cannot help but visit these caves that depict ancient India in the most vivid manner possible.
Luxury trains like the Maharajas’ Express have included a visit to the Ajanta Caves in one of its North Indian tour itineraries. The train is famous for its well-planned luxury tours that cover some of the most important tourist places of India.
While planning heritage tours Ajanta cannot be missed.
Discovery of Ajanta
The caves are so situated that for a considerable long time people were unaware of their existence. It was in 1819 when a British officer, John Smith, went on a tiger hunt and discovered the caves by chance.
The rest is history, well of course. The splendid aura and creativity sprawled in the caves drew the attention of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the British.
Ajanta Caves were surrounded by dense forests in the 19th century. The inhabitation of the fearsome Bhil tribe in these forests made the caves almost non-accessible. During those times, visiting the caves was no less than an adventure trip.
Today, the scene has changed. The caves are converted into a tourist site and all arrangements are made to make it a tourist-friendly place. With trains like Maharajas’ Express taking its passengers to this highly esteemed World Heritage Site, the caves are very much accessible to all.
If you haven’t seen Ajanta Caves, you haven’t seen a substantial part of ancient India. Don’t miss this “piece of India” that can change your perception about this fascinating Asian country.