Situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, only 2 kilometres from Bibi ka Maqbara, are the Aurangabad caves, a jumble of twelve man-made rock-cut caves. There are twelve Buddhist caves in all, divided into three groups according to their geographical locations. There are three groups: 1–5, 6–9, and 10–12 caves in the second group.
There are viharas in caves 1 and 2. The first cave is an unfinished and run-down vihara. There is a Buddha shrine near the back of Cave 2. The Kalachuri Dynasty is associated with the caves that remain.
The most elaborately decorated cave is cave 7, which features an exterior hallway for exploring around a central shrine. The front wall of the veranda is an exquisite depiction of a litany panel with Avalokitesvar and Bodhisatva. The Bodhisatvva Padmapani is portrayed in the Avalokitesvara litany as the “Saviour of the Eight Great Perils,” which include thievery, demons, fire, lions, shipwrecks, elephants, snakes, monkeys, and so forth. A sculpted panel showing the Buddha in Nirvana may be found in Cave 9.
History of Aurangabad Caves
The soft basalt rock of these caves was dug in the sixth and seventh centuries. There are 500 metres separating the first and second sets of caves. The latter is located on the western side, while the former is on the eastern side. East of the second group is where the third group is located. Based on historical accounts, cave 3 was created before cave 1.
Cave 1 has exquisite architectural details such as scrolls, fretwork, geometric patterns, tassels, and flowers.
How to reach
It is possible to access these caves by road and train. There are connections between the Aurangabad Railway Station and Mumbai, Nasik, Navi Mumbai, and Manmad. Using a private vehicle, visitors may travel from the station to the caves. State and local transit buses link Aurangabad to cities like Nagpur, Pune, and Mumbai via the NH-4.
It is accessible to tourists every day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The cost of an admission ticket is Rs 100 for foreign visitors and Rs 10 for Indian tourists per person.
Activities to do in and around
The amazing architectural wonder Bibi ka Maqwara is not far from the Aurangabad caves, also referred to by the locals as the “mini Ellora caves.” It takes one hour to tour the caves. It is noteworthy to highlight the elaborate carvings, designs, and constructed pillars. It is the perfect example of a monolithic building. There are many stairs leading up to each of the three groups of caves that make up the complex.
The best Time to visit
To avoid the intense summer heat, November through February is the ideal time to visit Aurangabad. Visitors may enjoy the grandeur of the rain-washed caves from August to October.