Saving the Best for Last:
We had explored many beautiful caves at Ajanta on the first day. But Caves 1, 2, 9, and 10 — some of the most popular ones — were on our list for the second day. Yes, we had saved the best for last.
From the spectacular murals of Vajrapani and Padmapani in Cave 1 to the rock stupa and beautiful art in Cave 10, the treasures didn’t cease to amaze us.
Day 2, Entering Storyland at the Ajanta Caves:
We were entranced by the variety of paintings and stories depicted here.
The thrill on sighting the mural of Padmapani holding a water lily, the delight on recognizing a Jataka tale depicted on the wall, the mixed feelings on spotting John Smith’s name carved inside Cave 10… it was a day to remember!
A security guard at one of the caves looked at me quizzically and asked why I had returned to the site. He remembered me from the previous day – perhaps I was spending too much time here?! Oh well, maybe I have a striking face ;).
While some murals have faded away, others are faint, and a few are clearly visible. Walls, pillars, and even ceilings are covered with stunning art. So remember to look in all directions – the rewards are infinite. Don’t hesitate to step back, turn around, or retrace a path. There’s always another discovery to be made.
After a few hours, we reluctantly stepped onto the small bridge and took the short route toward the exit. We paused often to turn back and glance at the magnificent caves. Would we return? Maybe. If not, we could travel back in time, trace the imprints in our mind. The murals, the sculptures, the grandeur, and the beauty had been etched deeply into my memory.
The Ajanta Caves lie at a distance of about 100 km from Aurangabad. The site is a popular attraction among visitors of various nationalities. For an immersive experience, consider setting aside a couple of days to visit all the caves. If you are visiting for a day, some caves can be prioritized over the others (based on your interest).