In the western state of Maharashtra, there await age old memoirs of Indian History. These memoirs are the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad. The caves have great historical significance; interestingly, three religious texts make an appearance on their walls.
THINGS TO DO
Ajanta And Ellora Caves consist of a total of 64 caves. Ajanta Caves alone has 30 caves, but the most visited are Cave 1, 2 and 4. Each has its own attraction, where Cave 1 has a grand doorway, Cave 2 has intricately designed ceilings, and Cave 4 has the largest monastery in Ajanta.
All cave numbers are well marked. You can’t miss them.
Ellora Caves has 34 caves, related to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Cave 2 is a Buddhist cave with a sculpture of Buddha seated on a lion. And Cave 16 is the Hindu cave dedicated to Lord Shiva. Cave 1 is related to Jainism and is more of a monastery.
WHEN TO GO
Both the caves are at a close distance from Aurangabad. And the climate there is same as the rest of India. Avoid summer months – April and May. The rainy season starts from June so that the sightseeing can get interrupted by showers. It is better to visit during the winter season that is from November to January.
WHAT TO WEAR
If you are visiting in summer, then you need to wear comfy cotton outfits to stay cool. But if you are visiting in winter then you need light jackets to keep you warm. A nice pair of boots or shoes is much appreciated. You need to walk around to see the caves, so it is only fair if you pair a good pair of shoe.
Like rest of India, Hindi is a language which will help you in Ajanta and Ellora too. Most of the Indians understand English and can speak English also. You will not have a problem in communicating with the locals if you know English and some basic Hindi Phrases.
The Indian currency is Rupee. You can convert to it as soon as you reach India. Airports and banks can help you in converting it. The Indian notes are of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000. The 50 and 100 rupee notes will help you a lot, so make sure you have enough of it.
The Ajanta and Ellora caves are a specimen of the days when Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism were in harmony in India. Ajanta caves are of 2nd Century BC whereas Ellora Caves are of a later period, in 5th Century BC. These places are not just mere historical places but also religious places. Visit it with reverence and respect the beliefs of the locals.
FREE WI-FI & SIM CARDS
Aurangabad is in Maharashtra, which uses the Airtel, Reliance and Idea mobile networks. Airtel provides 4 G services. You can use your Airtel sim from Delhi here because Airtel has made all its services roaming free. Reliance Jio users will also face no problem whatsoever in calling or using data anywhere in India.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST
Entry Fees to Ajanta Caves is 10 INR ( for Indians), 250 INR ( Foreign tourists) and the Entry Fees to Ellora Caves is 10 INR( Indians), 250 INR( Foreign Tourists). An extra of 25 INR is charged for the camera.
HOW MANY DAYS
Two days are sufficient to take a tour of both the caves. There are 64 caves in total, so it might take a lot of time to visit all. But if you stick to the main ones then two days are more than enough to see around.
Buses are available from Aurangabad Bus Station to Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The Maharashtra State Tourism Corporation Bus Service leaves from the MTDC Office in railway station road. There is also a luxury bus service running from Aurangabad. The Asiad buses operated by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation are semi-luxurious but are not frequent.
RENT vs. PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Public transport is the best way to reach the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. You can also hire cars with drivers who can take you to the caves. But it is expensive than public transport. It cost about 300-400 INR.
RIGHT or LEFT DRIVING
In India, the left-hand driving rule is followed. But if you have a driver with you then you need not worry about driving. Indian drivers are rash, and it is a risk to drive on the Indian roads. Better let your chauffeur do the work.
ELECTRICITY & PLUG TYPE
In India the standard voltage is 230V, and the socket Type C, D, and M. You need a voltage converter as well as an adapter. You can also try a combined adapter/ converter.
HOW TO REACH
The nearest airport is the Aurangabad Airport. And there are regular flights to Aurangabad from Delhi and Mumbai. You can also take trains from Amritsar, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. MSRTC offers Red Buses to Aurangabad from Mumbai. Once you reach Aurangabad, you can take bus or taxis to the Caves which is at about 100 Km away.
WHERE TO STAY
Ajanta Ellora Caves offers accommodation like the Guest House and Tourist Resort. If you want to stay nearby the caves then this is your best bet. An overnight stay costs 2000- 4000 INR. But there are also many hotels in Aurangabad to which you can return to after your day trip to the caves.
HOW SAFE IS IT
Foreign tourists need to take the government tourist buses MSRTC because the yellow cabs outside the Aurangabad bus stand are not safe. You might regret taking one. So stick with buses, and you will reach your destination safely and in time.
September 5, 2017 3:50 pm