Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

Ellora Caves
4.5
Ancient Ruins • Caverns & Caves
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Spectacular rock cut caves and elaborate sculptures of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths are over 10 centuries old.
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Indradeep R
Mumbai, India875 contributions
Must visit once in a Lifetime
Feb 2021
There are totally of 34 caves in Ellora. Parking is available with a fees and the parking spot is on the opposite side of the entrance to the Cave. You can book ticket through the ASI website or at the ticket counter by standing in a queue or by scanning a QR code present in front of the ticket counter. Before you enter through the gate please carry water as you would definitely need it in case you want to cover all the caves. If you purchase ticket through the ticket counter you will be given a chip which has to be used to enter and kept safely with you till you return to exit.

As you enter and walk straight you will land up to Cave no 16, the biggest Cave and the most beautiful piece of architecture. Probably its the climax which you will encounter before you take on the journey to other caves. If you are walking I would request to start with Cave 1 and then go with the sequence. Cave 1-12 is dedicated to Lord Buddha, Cave 14- 29 decimated to Hinduism and the Cave 30 - 34 dedicated to Jainism. If you are fit and atheletic do cover all the caves by walking as you will also pass through one of the wonderful terrain where you will find a pond below and the roads turns beside the mountain wall. Its a magnificent spot for photography and enjoy the rugged nature. All the caves are accessible by foot. In case you have mobility challenges you can take the bus near Cave no 16 to 30-34. But I would surely recommend not to miss out on the trek from 16 to 30 on feet.

If you have limited time then do visit, Cave 2, 5, 6, 10 ( must see), 11- 12( 3 Storied structure and is easily accessible), 14, 15( double storied, difficult to climb), 16( the best of the lot) 21, 25, 29 ( massive and has three entrants), 30-34( inter connected to each other). If you cannot find the interconnection ask the security guard who will direct you to the right stairs. Once you follow the path you will figure out the rest through your instincts

Ellora is magnificent and if you love history and art you will easily take 6 hrs to complete it. For normal travellers you will take around 2-3 hrs in case you cover all the caves. A place to visit definitely in your lifetime
Written 20 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

abhilashadoor
Mumbai, India44 contributions
Ancient rock-cut cave temple in the world
Apr 2020
There are over 100 caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs in the Charanandri Hills, 34 of which are open to the public. Cave 16, known as the Kailasa temple, is a particularly notable cave temple in India as a result of its size, architecture and having been entirely carved out of a single rock. Very beautiful temple. It will take a full day to visit all caves.
Written 18 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

theavidtravellerfrom
India53 contributions
Ellora Caves - Iconically Incredible !!!!
Feb 2021
Must see Ellora and Ajanta caves near the city of Aurangabad before you die. These caves are unbelievably marvellous. Both these magnificent places are UNESCO world heritage sites.

Ellora Caves (Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Caves) are around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, in India. While Ajanta Caves (only Buddhists caves) are 102 kms (64 miles) from Aurangabad.

Aurangabad is around 360 kms (223 miles) from Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra. The entire state of Maharashtra, including the city of Mumbai has lots of ancient caves. If you are a caves enthusiast, Maharashtra is the place for you as you will find several ancient caves excavations here. These caves were mainly ‘carved’ by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.

Ellora Caves:

Ellora Caves have over 100 caves, but only 34 of them are open for public viewing. These consist of 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34). All of these were excavated by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains over a period of 600 years (between 600-1000 CE). Out of these 34 caves, cave no 16 (Kailasa Temple) is the most iconic one as it is the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world.

How did those ancient people carve Kailasa Temple (Cave No 16) from a single (monolithic) hard, steel-like volcanic basalt rock and that too from the top? In just 19/20 years??? And all this, 1300 years ago???

Kailasa Temple (Cave No 16) flummoxes the minds of even modern-day architects, engineers and artists.

To carve this cave No 16 (Kailasa Temple) from the top, it took 19-20 years. This means, around 2,50,000 tons of rock were chiselled out. This further means that on a daily basis, at least, 30 tons of rock had to be removed. This sounds almost impossible a human feat. Considering the time it took to finish this temple, it must've taken at least 8000 to 10,000 people to carve this temple. But how could such a small space accommodate these many people?

Another flummoxing fact is that of the leftover stones. There is no sign of them in the vicinity or even hundreds of kilometres around the site.

That's why most are forced to believe that this must've been done by aliens or with the help of superhuman powers. Maybe, sometime in the future, if any spacecraft finds basalt rock asteroids or meteors, then we will know who built this temple and caves.

When it comes to sculpting, no doubt Michelangelo Buonarroti was a master sculptor and painter. But the sculptures of Ellora Caves are epic. According to me, Ellora and Ajanta Caves (2200 BC) should be on the top of the list of the wonders of the world. Nor the Pantheon, nor David, nor Sistine Chapel. If you haven’t seen the sculpting of Ellora Caves and the murals of Ajanta Caves (2 BCE), you have seen nothing.


Don’t Miss: The carvings that depict Ramayan and Mahabharat on the ground floor on either side of Kailasa temple.

If you carefully notice the walls of the carved hillside of the Kailasa Temple, you will see the chisel marks on the rocks.

I was surprised to see one Kamasutra like carving on the upper floor of this temple. But this is not a Kamasutra temple. So do not rush to this temple to see Kamasutra carvings. For that you can visit Khajuraho and Konark and Modhera sun temples. Kailasa Temple has to be seen for the sheer scientific and artistic mastery of ancient Indians. This is Lord Shiva's temple. And maybe, since Lord Shiva is also known as Kamadeva (God of Love), explains the reason for this.

Best View of Cave No 16: Hike up the hill on the right side of the Cave No 16 (Kailasa Temple) to get a bird’s eye view and a perspective of how the sculptors started carving this temple from the top of a single (monolithic) rock.

Must See: Ellora caves number 16, 10, 11, 14, 29 and 32. If you visit during the monsoon (end of June to early September) you will get to see a beautiful waterfall at Cave No 29. This cave is the most spacious and airiest of all and it actually transports you back in time. A lot many people give it a skip as it requires some walking. But do not skip this one.

To visit cave number 32 and 29, you will have to take a bus from a spot outside Cave No 16 (Kailasa Temple). The to-and-fro bus journey charges Rs. 20 per person. But one has to wait for at least 30 minutes for this bus. So, time your visits to other nearby caves accordingly or else you will have to wait 30 mins for the bus. The bus does not take you to Cave No 29 which is mid-way. So, while returning from Cave No 32, tell the bus driver that you want to see Cave No 29. He will drop you to the closest point so that you can walk a few hundred meters to reach cave no 29. If you can walk the total distance of around 2.5-3.0 kms to see caves No 32 and 29, you can skip the bus.

What they do not tell you in the Notebooks: The awesome stone carvings of all theGods and Goddesses of Ellora caves were disfigured by the Islamist Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Since they could not dismantle these temples carved out of hard Basalt rocks, they disfigured all the carvings. It took them 3 years to do this. Just imagine, if Aurangzeb hadn’t done this, we would’ve got to see the most intricate stone carvings. What is more shocking is, despite this, city of Aurangabad city is named after Aurangzeb.

Another thing which Ellora Caves made me realise is the fact that since ages India has been the most religiously secular and tolerant nations of all as it has people of every religious beliefs. The Hindu, Buddhists and Jain caves are proof etched in stone.

Time Required: You will need a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 8 hours to see the Ellora caves.

Must Carry: Carry enough water and dry snacks like sandwiches, etc., as once inside the caves, you will not get any food and water. Since these are caves, it will be good if you also carry a good torchlight.

Clothing Tips: If visiting during extremely hot summers, wear comfortable cotton/linen clothes, cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, and wear very comfortable footwear as you have to walk a lot. One needs to remove footwear to see some caves, therefore, if you wear a cushioned, comfortable pair of chappals, it will save you the trouble of untying and tying shoelaces. If you intend to visit the nearby Grishneshwar temple which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (pillars of light actually created by Lord Shiva), avoid wearing short pants as you will have to be dressed appropriately in a full length trouser to visit this temple.

Safety Tips: Since there are a lot of monkeys around the caves, be careful with your mobile phones and other belongings as they may snatch it from your hand. Though the monkeys seem to be well-behaved but avoid eating in front of them as they might snatch away your meal. Do not give mobile phones and wallets to kids as it is easy for monkeys to snatch it away from them.

Toilet Facility: Toilets are just before the entrance of Cave No 16. The toilets are typical local government-managed ones. So, do not expect clean, hotel like toilets. Carry your own hand-sanitisers and toilet paper. Women are advised to spray sanitiser to disinfect the toilet seat before using them.

Ticket Charges: Indian Adults are charged INR 40 rupees. Foreigners are charged INR 600 rupees.

Days & Timings: Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays and are open from 9:00am to 5:30pm.
Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays. So, if you are visiting Aurangabad for seeing Ellora and Ajanta caves, avoid visiting on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Only 1000 visitors are allowed in a day. So, either purchase the tickets online or call up MTDC office to check the status of tickets. But chances are no one from MTDC will answer the call.

Best Time to Visit: November end to Mid-February (Winters)
July to September end (Monsoon)
Avoid visiting between March to June end as it may get very hot, and the maximum temperature can shoot up to 42 degree Celsius / 107.6 Fahrenheit.

Guides: Near the ticket counter, you will find a lot of young guides who will offer their services for as less as Rs 300. But they are just amateurs. You will find the professional guides inside Cave No 16 (Kailasa Temple) and they charge around Rs 1600-1800. But I did not find them great either. Every cave has a caretaker. You rather pay these caretakers a small amount and they will show you around in detail. It will help if you do some reading on your own about the caves.

If at all you take a guide, clearly tell him that at the end of the tour you will pay him only if he sincerely explains you everything in detail.

Accommodations: For those looking for 5/4 star hotels, you have a choice of Vivanta Aurangabad (Taj group of hotels), Rama International (ITC Group), The Fern, Lemon Tree, Ambassador Ajanta.

For budget travellers, there are a lot of options like Oyo Rooms, Ginger hotel, Treebo and other local hotels.

Cab Charges: The taxi charges from Aurangabad city to Ellora Caves along with 5 other local sightseeing places like Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Bhadra Maruti Temple, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Bibi Ka Maqbara (low-budget replica of Taj Mahal), and Panchakki (Watermill) should cost you not more than INR 1800 rupees in an air-conditioned 4-seater sedans like Hyundai Accent, Maruti Dzire and Toyota Etios. If you want a bill for the cab, insist on it before booking and pay the full amount only when they give you a properly stamped and signed bill with GST number. We got cheated by a cab fleet owner named Pranit who owns clearcabsrental
He promised us a proper bill but did not give us the bill and is avoiding our calls ever since.

Beware, do not pay the whole fare before the trip. They will ask you to pay 50% of it in the name of refuelling, but do not ever pay them more than 50% before the trip is over.

Request to Local Authorities: How I wish, the State Government of Maharashtra and MTDC had employed non-polluting electric autorickshaws/golf carts at Ellora Caves so that visitors can easily see all the caves. Walking in the harsh sun and for long distances is really tiring and makes the visitors skip some caves.
I would like to request Maharashtra State Government, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to deploy at least 4 air-conditioned buses (instead of the current single Non-AC one) so that people get some comfort and so that they do not have to wait for 30 minutes in the sun to visit caves No 32 and 29.

Also please plant more trees and have park benches under them for people to rest. Even a big Air-Conditioned hall and cafeteria inside will provide respite from extremely hot weather. The toilets should also be rebuilt and should have good international airport like quality and maintenance. It is okay if you hike the visiting fees from Rs 40 to Rs 100 but do provide these facilities.

Along with Ellora Caves which are around 35 kilometres from Aurangabad city, if you also plan to visit Ajanta Caves (which you must visit) which are 102 kilometres from Aurangabad, let me caution you: The road journey from Aurangabad to Ajanta Caves is a nightmare (as of February 2021) as the roads are in horrible state. So, if you are booking a cab from Aurangabad, insist upon a vehicle which is in good condition (comfortable seats and Air Conditioning) and has reliably good set of tyres.
Due to bad roads, it will take you at least 3 hours to reach Ajanta Caves.

I suggest you visit Ellora Caves and other local sightseeing first and on the next day visit Ajanta Caves.
Written 17 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Tiwariraj
Mumbai, India23 contributions
Very interesting
Mar 2021 • Couples
Historic caves a must see for all who come to Aurangabad. If you do go make sure you take a guide else it won't be as interesting.
Written 12 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sanjay Vaswani
Aurangabad, India2 contributions
Official guides
Mar 2021 • Solo
Beautiful site if you want to understand with the licenced guide then contact ajantaguide@gmail.com or 9890024884
Written 7 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

asim_hazra1
Durgapur, India34 contributions
Mesmerizing Kailash Temple the largest monolithic structure of the World
Feb 2021 • Couples
This is a world heritage site and cave no 16 is having the largest monolithic structure in the world ,the kailash temple.We were there for 3 days from 26/02 to 28/02/21.We were accompanied by Mr Taqui whose Toyota Ethios we had hired for 6 days.Mr Taqui is a superb person with wide experience and knowledge of these historical sites.Contact no of Mr Taqui is 9511805424
Written 4 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

gpradeepshenoy
Bengaluru, India952 contributions
A must visit place while in Aurangabad
Feb 2021
The nearest bus stop is Ellora caves. Buses from Aurangabad leave for ellora caves say every 30-40 minutes from Central Bus stand, Aurangabad. The journey takes about 40-45 minutes and the Ellora caves bus stop is right in front of entrance of Ellora caves. The bus ticket costs Rs 40 per person.

We get tourist taxis from Aurangabad for Rs 1200-1500 which will cover Gruhaneshwar temple, Ellora caves, daulatabad Fort, Bhadra maruthi temple, Aurangzeb Tomb and Biki ka maqbara in one day.

There are few restaurants near entrance of Ellora caves,i will suggest to have food and buy water bottles before entering the caves. We booked the tickets to this cave via ASI website which saved us a few minutes of standing in queue to get tickets. The ticket costed Rs 35 for Indian citizens. These caves are closed on Tuesdays and opens at 6:00 Am on other days. I will suggest to reach this place as early as possible to avoid heat during later part of the day.

We hired a guide who approached us at the entrance of caves who charged us Rs 800. The guide took us to all caves except the Jain caves.I will recommend to hire a guide for visiting these caves.

The caves are majestic and will take about 3 hours to cover all the caves( Buddhists, Jain and Hindu caves). There involves a lot of walking and please come prepared for that.Just at the entrance of the Ellora caves we can see Kailasnatha temple. Hindu & Buddhist caves are towards right of kailashnath temple.For going to Jain caves there is a government bus which comes and halts at a place which is about 2-3 minute walk from entrance of cave. The frequency of this bus is say 30-40 minutes and costs Rs 20(up-down) and the drive is of 5 minutes. The bus stops near Jain caves and gives tourists 30 minutes to visit the Jain caves and to return back to the bus. One has to come back to the entrance of the cave in the same bus in which takes one goes to the caves.

Toilet is clean in Ellora caves and is situated in left side after we enter the ellora caves. I could find only one toilet and will request authorities to build at least one more toilet near Buddhist/Hindu caves. I did not find any shops selling food inside Ellora caves so have food before entering these caves and also please stock up sufficient drinking water.Also observed these caves are wheel chair friendly.

From entrance of Ellora caves we can get share autos(Not sure about how frequent we get share autos) to go to Khuladabad(To visit Aurangzeb tomb and Bhadra maruthi temple) at Rs 20 per person.

A must visit place while in Aurangabad and please do not try to see both Ellora caves and Ajantha caves in one day as both are located at a distance of 100 Kms from each other.If you are planning to visit Gruhaneshwar temple also, then i will suggest you to first visit Gruhaneshwar temple and then visit Ellora caves.
Written 9 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chinmayee d
Pune, India57 contributions
Emphatic Ellora
Feb 2021 • Couples
Apart from Kailas complex of the Ellora group of caves, other caves are also worth looking at, including the jain caves.
I must emphasise that we started early, so we were done seeing all the important caves by noon, before the sun was blazing we had completed most of the caves. We had engaged a guide, but other than his cheerful demeanor and basic information, other information seemed exaggerated. The government guide rates are very high, 1800 and the few we met didn't impress us much.
We wanted someone who would time us and show us all the important things that we wanted to see.
A basic primer about the caves is available on Wikipedia, that was a good start.
Needless to say the location of the caves is picturesque, and in the monsoon it must be a perfect outing with waterfalls around the cave complex.
The caves are well preserved. The carvings leave your jaw wide open, to have such skills in the 7th cent.
Written 7 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kaiz_sm
Mumbai, India140 contributions
Ellora caves
Jan 2021
Since we were time crunched, we could only explore 1 cave - Kailash cave.
Do take the service of an authorized guide. Only then will you understand the minute details & beauty of the cave.
If I describe the cave in one word - Outstanding! So well done & what a beautiful way in depicting the story & history.
Do purchase tickets online. Budget for a minimum of half day to explore the caves well. Real UNESCO World Heritage sight.
Written 3 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

I'm sk
2 contributions
Must visit places
Jan 2021 • Friends
Good place to visit in Aurangabad.
If you are coming to Aurangabad so please visit this place very good place
Written 31 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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