What are the Ajanta and Ellora caves?
Well, here’s what they’re not…
The Ajanta and Ellora caves aren’t your typical, naturally formed, underground type of caves. Visiting them doesn’t require protective hats, safety ropes and wading through water.
So what are they then?
By definition they are still caves, but in reality they’re more like…openings in the rock face. Essentially, they’re a series of remote caves containing ancient artwork and detailed sculptures, many of which have religious significance.
Hold on, where in the world are they?
The caves are located at two separate sites in the countryside of Maharashtra, central India. They can both be accessed from the city of Aurangabad.
So which are better?
Well, I guess that depends on different perceptions of the word ‘better’; what is better for one person may be worse for someone else – it’s all down to individual preferences.
To avoid any confusion, here are the notable points of each cave site, summarised with a short conclusion:
👍 Colourful, detailed paintings
👍 Dramatic location (as seen from the viewpoint)
👍 Older and more physically authentic caves
👎 Takes a long time to get there
👎 Lots of steps to navigate in between caves
👍 Home to the single most impressive ‘cave’ (the Kailasa Temple)
👍 Wonderfully intricate carvings and sculptures
👍 Relatively easy to get to
👎 Very few paintings
👎 Can get busy on weekends
For more information about each cave site – including transport logistics and which caves not to miss – you can read my complete guides here:
Overall, I preferred Ajanta.
However, Ellora is more easily accessible.
Therefore, depending on your situation, here’s what you should do:
➲ If you have a full day available – visit Ajanta
➲ If you have less than a full day – visit Ellora
➲ If you have plenty of time – visit both! (They’re worth it)