Ajanta and Ellora Caves

                                                                                28.02 - 03.03.2008

After loads of work, Michael took some days free so we decided to use this to enrich our cultural experience in India by visiting the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora Caves. For this some need to reach the town of Aurangabad 400 Km east of Mumbai from where is easy to organise the trips to the caves. Ajanta are Budhist caves dating from 200 BC and 650 AD. There are 30 caves cut in rock and they are decorated with rich paintings and elaborate carvings. The paintings are about daily life of that time, the life of Budha or simply geometric and floral patterns. In every temple is a huge statue of Budha and in few of them there are also detailed carvings about his life.





Ajanta Caves are cut in the rock face of a horseshoe-shaped gorge



One of Budha statues





The Budhist caves of Ajanta have some good preserved wall paintings, some over 2000 years old





Fine paintings and carving decorate most of the caves








Religious sculptures








Ceiling paintings





Inside a temple





Another example of the good preserved fine paintings





Temple facade


Carvings inside a temple depicting the life of Budha









Reclining Budha










Way of going around the caves by chair...






Lonar Meteorite Crater is 2Km in diameter and 170m deep. At the bottom is a lake and several temples. To reach the crater is 3 hours drive from Aurangabad, to climb down and up you need a bit of fitness and strenght to beat the heat





Monkey in a temple on the lake shore





Another temple in the crater



Small shop-restaurant near the crater





The road to Aurangabad



The 14th century Daulatabad fortress close to Aurangabad is worth a visit








Bats in the fortress



6m long cannon





Tower of the Moon built in 15th century is 60m high


The Ellora has a mix of Budhist, Hindu and Jain caves, from which the Budhist are the oldest (600-800 AD) and the Jain are the newest (800-1000AD). The most impressive ist the Kailasa Temple, the world largest monolithic sculpture carved from the rock by 7000 labourers over 150 years period.





Ellora caves



Temple cut in rock



Budhist cave





Cave with teaching Budha





Hindu cave (unfinished)


Budhist cave






The 1300 years old Kailasa Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva





View of the upper part of Kailasa Temple



Kailasa Temple





Rich decorations of the temple wall



View of Kailasa from the hill from where was cut, which gives you a good impression of the task involved to carve such a huge temple by hand





Jain caves



Small Kailasa, a Jain temple





Double storey Jain cave



Jain cave




  Taj Mahal?  

No, is Bibi-ka-Makbara in Aurangabad





Aurangabad is a weaving centre specialising in cotton and silk material with designs inspired from motifs of Ajanta frescoes. Here is traditional Paithani sari made from silk and gold or silver brocade. This sari takes 6 months of handwork to finish and costs around 1100 euro





Waiver at work