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200 BC to 650 AD caves were excavated and decorated.
1819 Re-discovered by a British hunting party.
1920-1922 paintings restored by Italian art experts.
1983 listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
All year Tue-Sun 9-17:30 or sunset.
Fee for Caves No 1, 2, 16 and 17. Adults Foreigners US$ 10, Indians Rs 10, Lighting Rs 5, Video Camera Rs 25. Flash photography is strictly forbidden in this caves.
The Ajanta Caves are older than Ellora, so it makes sense to visit these first. The Ajanta Caves are Buddhist and are famous for their magnificent paintings. The 29 caves are cut into the steep face of a rock gorge. Many of the caves are dark, so it is worth paying the extra for a lighting ticket. Five of the caves are chaityas or temples while the other 24 are viharas or monasteries. Caves 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13 are of the simpler, more austere and older Hinayana school where the Buddha was never directly represented but always alluded to by a symbol such as a footprint or wheel of law. All the others are of the Mahayana school and contain some very elaborate carvings. Cave No 1 has a huge Buddha statue, and some notable paintings including the black princes and the dying princess.
600-800 Buddhist caves excavated.
900 Hindu caves excavated.
800-1000 Jain caves excavated.
Entry to Ellora is free except for the Kailasa Temple. Foreigner US$ 10, Indian Rs 10.
The Ellora Caves start where the Ajanta Caves finish. It is thought that the builders of Ajanta moved to Ellora when they suddenly ceased construction at Ajanta. In all there are 34 caves at Ellora, 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain. Most of the Buddhist caves are viharas or monasteries, except for No 10 the Viswakarma or 'carpenter's cave' which is a chaitya or temple cave. The cave takes its name from the ribs carved into the roof which look like wooden beams. A finely carved horseshoe shaped window lets light in and a huge seated Buddha stands before a 9 m high stupa. The Hindu Caves are notable for their size. Cave No 16 or the mighty Kailasa Temple is the central attraction at Ellora. It consists of a huge courtyard, 81 m long by 47 m wide and 33 m high fronted by two massive stone elephants. It is estimated that 200,000 tons of rock were excavated to produce this overwhelming site.
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