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Ajanta Caves

The site of the Ajanta caves has a quite different feel from those of Ellora.  The Ellora caves are set along a long fairly straight escarpment while at Ajanta they are positioned around a horseshoe shaped gorge by the River Waghora.  The caves are from an earlier period of about the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD and were all produced by Buddhists.  There are 30 caves in all, of which five are chaityas (places of worships) while the rest are viharas or residences.

The caves were abandoned and overtime became overgrown and thus only known to locals, until 'rediscovered' by an English soldier, John Smith in 1819.  He was on a tiger hunt and spotted the top carving on one of the caves across the river and went to investigate.  The long period of anonymity for the caves is probably why their interiors are so well preserved.



A snack stall near the ticket office, in case you needed energy before a walk around the site.











Our first view of the gorge.













In close up.












This path way leads to the caves, however this is a modern addition.  When the caves were in use they were individually reached by steps up the rock face from the river below.

















There were quite a few steps enroute to the caves so if you did not wish to walk you could have a ride in a chair.













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