Astonishingly carved into hillside rock in the middle of nowhere are the Ajanta and Ellora caves. There are 34 caves at Ellora dating from between the 6th and 11th centuries AD, and 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
The caves at Ajanta are all Buddhist, while the caves at Ellora are a mixture of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain
Location: The caves are in northern Maharashtra, around 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Mumbai.
Important: The Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays, and the Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Both caves are open on national holidays. However, try to avoid visiting them then (as well as on weekends) as the crowds can be maddening and you won’t have a peaceful experience.
The most incredible thing about the caves is that they were crafted by hand, with only a hammer and chisel. While the Ajanta caves are rich in paintings and sculpture, the Ellora caves are renowned for their extraordinary architecture. You can get an excellent view and perspective of inside the Kailasa temple by climbing up the hill around it. Its immense size covers twice the area of the Pantheon in Athens and is one and a half times as high! Bring a torch with you to the Ajanta caves as many of them are quite dark and lighting is poor.
The best time to visit the caves is from November to March, when it’s cooler and dry.
If you have time, do consider visiting Lonar Crater, is a small town in Buldhana district of Maharashtra close to Aurangabad. Its claim to fame is lake formed in a crater supposedly formed from a meteorite hit.