The caves par magnificence- Ajanta & Ellora

9th Mar 2016
Photo of The caves par magnificence- Ajanta & Ellora by Neha Ballal

My friend and I decided to catch a bus on one long weekend and go to Aurangabad. All we knew was we wanted to visit the caves we had heard so much about.

We reached Aurangabad by morning and as soon as we got off the bus we were swamped by Auto drivers. We asked one of them to take us to any good budget hotel and he took us around town, showed us a couple of hotel and finally we got a decent room near the railway station for 800/- night as we checked in.

After the usual morning chores of freshening up we left, taking a share auto to reach the main bus stand. We got a bus going to Ajanta, hopped on and after almost 2 hours of slow, hot drive, we were there.


With around 29 caves, all built around the 2000 years back, the rock cut sculptures and paintings which have survived all these years is a marvel no less.

There are numerous ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250-feet wall of rock. The caves also have paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths of the Buddha, and rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist deities. Some of them are still in good conditions , well maintained while some of them are dark and raw.

The paintings on the walls

Photo of Ajanta caves, Maharashtra, India by Neha Ballal

It is just mind boggling to imagine how they carved out so much of hard rock to make such detailed sculptures and carvings some even two floors high. The columns, the beams, the play of light and shadow, the windows provided. The chaitya halls, the dorm kind of rooms with viharas, the prayer rooms. All distinguished and constructed according to their use. You need to go there to feel the awe I felt when I looked at it.

How time flew I don't know but by the time we finished walking to all the caves it was almost dark. As we were relying on public transport we rushed out to the main road. Luckily for us, we were not the only ones and around 8 other people were also waiting for a bus.

It took almost 20 - 30 minutes for a bus to arrive by which it was completely dark. You need to have patience if you are travelling without much money and relying on public transport. We got back to our room by 8 that night. And were soon fast asleep.


Sculpted windows

Photo of The caves par magnificence- Ajanta & Ellora by Neha Ballal

When we reached the bus stand the next morning we found out as Ellora is closer to Aurangabad, many share taxis and autos plied on the route. So we got into one of these taxis which waited for at least 15 people to climb in and then left charging us only 30/- person.

An intriguing sculpture of a boy pooping!!

Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by Neha Ballal

Majority of the caves have just the remains of a few sculptures and if you go during the summers you might not get the energy to walk to each and every cave here under the blazing sun. Even we were not very impressed with the few caves we saw first as we had to walk a little between each cave and under the noon sun our energy was getting drained out.

The massiveness of the sculputer's.

Photo of The caves par magnificence- Ajanta & Ellora by Neha Ballal

As we entered Ellora the first few caves were bland, after seeing the magnificence of Ajanta yesterday until we came face to face with the Kailasa temple ie cave no. 16


A megalith carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. The play with the levels, the detailed carving of the floor, roof, columns, the sculptures and their scale. It is also awe striking. It is a temple like no other. It is also known that the carvers started at the top of the original rock and excavated downward. To plan such a huge structure, that too with every detail in mind and construct it, is a marvel in itself.

The mesmerizing rock cut temple

Photo of Kailasa Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra, India by Neha Ballal


On the way back from Ellora we got off our share auto at Daulatabad fort.The fort is a place of extraordinary strength. The only means of access to the summit is by a narrow bridge, with passage for not more than two people, and a long gallery, excavated in the rock, which has for the most part a very gradual upward slope.

We were told it was one of the impregnable forts in the country, with even numerous false routes, doors and mazes which opened out to a cliff on the other side of the hill. It even had three levels all of strategic importance and you can imagine the defense mechanism and the difficulty the invaders would have faced while trying to break into this fort.

Photo of Daulatabad, Maharashtra, India by Neha Ballal
Photo of Daulatabad, Maharashtra, India by Neha Ballal

After having our minds blown out by seeing such amazing designs and construction techniques we were back the next morning in our office, trying to use these ideas to our designs and maybe come up with something half as impressive as these!