Maharashtra is famous for its caves. The state has the largest number of caves in India. The caves in Maharsahtra are so old, dating back to as early as 1st century BC. Most of the caves were as the viharas (hall) and chaityas (pillared religious caves) by Budhist, Hindu and Jain priests. These caves showcase fine arts and crafts of the historical past.
Ellora in Aurangabad district is the best example for the experiments that had carried out by Buddhist, Hindu and Jain priests in making these huge and wonderful caves. The sculptures in these caves are really fascinating. Ajanta caves are again a fine achievement of human architecture of the olden days located at the same districts. There are also other caves in this district, which area a few kilometers away from the famous Bibi-Ka-Maqbara.
Then comes the UNESCO world heritage site of Elephanta caves. It is believed that the same team who had worked at the Kailash Temple at Ellora built the same Shiva Temple at Elephanta.
Ajanta caves are at a distance of 99 km from Maharashtra's Aurangabad district. It is believed that Ajanta caves started carving from 2nd century BC and ended at 6th century AD. The entire course of the evolution of Buddhist architecture can be traced in Ajanta.
A major chunk of the caves in Aurangabad are Viharas. Total number of caves is twelve; out of which cave number 3 and 7 are the most fascinating ones. Cave number 1 to 5 are in the western group and caves from 6 to 10 are in the eastern group.
Elephanta caves are in the magnificent Elephanta Island, which is 11 km from Mumbai. It has beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple of the Hindu God, Lord Shiva.
Ellora caves are in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. Ellora showcases the experiments that had carried out by Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monks some 600 to 300 years back. It is believed that the structures were carved between 350 AD to 700 AD.
The location of the Kanheri caves is so green with wooded hills and valleys, and it is at a distance of only 42 km from Mumbai. The architectures of this cave are regarded to be one of the finest in India.
Karla and Bhaja Caves
Karla and Bhaja Caves are located near Lonavala in Maharashtra. The Bhaja caves are regarded to be from the times of Hinayana phase of Buddhism, which is of 2nd to 1st century BC.
Pandavleni caves are 2000-year-old, and it was built by the Jain Kings. It is a group of 24 Hinayana Buddhist Caves, which date back between 1st century BC and 2nd century AD. These caves are at a distance of 8 km from Nasik.
Pitalkhora Caves, which dates back to 2nd century BC are only 40 km away from Ellora caves at Aurangabad. One can see here many unusual sculptures like Yaksa figures. The main gate has a wide terrace,
Maharashtra state has the largest number of caves in India. The caves of Maharashtra are known for their excellent architecture.