India as a country is a heritage site in itself for the number of different kinds of wonders that it houses, both natural and man-made. Maharashtra in particular is so huge as a state that there are numerous land and terrain variations. The Deccan Plateau, Western Ghats, river valleys, and multiple beaches are spread across a border of 118,809 sq mi and each of it a sigh to the sore eyes! Having formed mostly of volcanic activities, this state is home to a collection of beautiful caves that were carved with great craftsmanship over centuries ago! These rock carvings that were once homes to some monks, stand unmoved till date. A visit to these caves is a must to watch and appreciate the skill that existed hundreds of years ago!
The compositions and figures of Ajanta, considered as perfect works of art of Buddhist religious architecture, have had extensive imaginative impact. A world heirtage site, the wonder comprises of roughly 30 caves, 5 temples and 25 monasteries. Most of the caves are rectangular Vihara halls (religious communities) and the rest, Chaitya-grihas (corridors of love) with Buddhist places of worship for contemplation. Most part of the Ajanta caves are deluged in dimness or else in all respects faintly lit so as to protect the compositions, adding to its strange magnificence.
The Kailasanatha temple is one of the largest rock-cut ancient Hindu temples located in Ellora. It is one among the 32 caves and monasteries in Ellora caves. The temple is dotted with secret passageways, state-of-the-art drainage system. It also has connecting bridges and complicated designs, all carved out of a single rock!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves is an example of rock cutting craftsmanship and design from the time of medieval India. It is an island and is situated at a distance of 11km from the city of Mumbai. These caves also give a stunning view of the Mumbai horizon.
A gathering of 19 rock cut landmarks developed between the first – sixth century BC. Among these 9 caves are Chaitya which showcases Buddhist legendary figures. These caves are situated in a quiet and serene location and are an unquestionable “must visit” places from Mumbai.
A study of the life and teachings of Buddha, the Kanheri caves are located in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Used as a monastery for Buddhist monks between the 2nd and 9th century. The caves contain numerous paintings and sculptures, inscriptions and adornments to help monks and their followers follow the way of the master. Although not as impressive as the caves at, Ajanta, they’re well worth a visit, if only for a place to cool off.
Karla And Bhaja Caves
Cut into the stone, the Karla and Bhaja caves are a festival of early Buddism in a place that is overflowing with tourists throughout the year. The entire make contains two arrangements of caves, each with its very own prayer rooms and living quarters. A mix of cutting and teakwood, the impact of the stone and wood combined is nothing less than a marvel of design. These are caves go back to the Hinayana era and the Theravadin period of early Buddhism.
Pataleshwar caves are located in the heart of the city of Pune which makes it one of the most visited caves in the state of Maharashtra. Owing to its proximity to exposure to contact, these caves are of the least magnificent but yet made it to the list. They are somewhat similar to the Elephanta caves in terms of design and architecture.
Contributed by Lekhanapriya