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Ajanta Caves


Hidden in the dense foliage of central India lies a wonder carved in rock, over 2,000 years old and a symbol of the religious dissemination of the Silk Roads.

The Ajanta Caves, with its 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments dating back to the 2nd century BC, is a wonder of human art. Tucked away in the remote mountains of Maharashtra, India, these caves were accidentally discovered in 1819 by a British officer on a tiger hunt. For centuries prior, they had remained abandoned and overgrown, masterpieces of ancient rock-cut architecture lost to time. The caves were painstakingly carved out of a curving rock face stretching nearly 600 feet. What lies inside astounds with detailed sculptures and paintings that have survived for over 2,000 years, depicting scenes from the life of Buddha and ornate Buddhist symbolism and mythology.

Imagine stumbling upon the Ajanta Caves in their heyday and realizing the incredible feat of manpower and devotion required to construct them. The air inside would have been thick with the smell of incense as monks meditated in the candlelit caves, with their chanting sounds echoing through the chambers carved into the solid rock. Elaborately painted murals covering nearly every surface would have glowed in the dim light, their vivid colors depicting legendary creatures and scenes from Buddhist texts. It is an escape from the harsh reality of the outside world and the dangers that the Silk Roads poised. Simply admiring their devotion to construct these all those years ago makes one realize how important religion played along the ancient routes.

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How We Got Here

We reached Aurangabad, the nearest city, by train, and from there made a two-hour bus journey to the caves.

The Highlight

Hiking to a view point where the horse-shoe bend of the caves unfolded, showing their size and remoteness in a different perspective.

Our Treasure

Walking in some of the caves and peering at some of the detailed art, then stepping back to look at the big picture. 

Explore More

     ➨  India and the Silk Road

S N A P S H O T S   O N   T H E   R O A D

W H E R E   W I L L   Y O U R   J O U R N E Y   T A K E   Y O U   N E X T ?

It is a wonder what lies hidden in these cliffs, especially when considering how remote they are. This detour to the caves was truly one of the most unique experiences thus far in your thousands of miles along the Silk Roads. 

To continue, do you take the road back north through deserts and mountains, starting back in Jodhpur, or head back south and take the maritime route along the Indian Ocean, starting at the port of Goa?

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