5 Rock Carving Curiosities to See in India


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    India has a long tradition of magnificent rock carving architecture that started more than 2300 years ago. Incredible rock-cut structures which mix art, architecture and history can be found all over the country. These are our 5 must-see picks.

    1. Ajanta Caves (Aurangabad)

    The Ajanta Caves, located near Aurangabad (Maharashtra), are a very famous monument of Buddhist tradition and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Its construction started during the 2nd century BCE. The site was then abandoned and became covered by vegetation until its clean-up during the middle of the 19th century.

    The caves are mostly constituted by vihara halls (monasteries) were Buddhist monks used to live during the monsoon.

    Ajanta Caves

    Ajanta Caves

    Price: Rs. 30 Indians / Rs. 500 foreigners
    Opening: from 9:00 to 17:30, closed on Mondays

    Around 100km from the Ajanta Caves, you'll find the Ellora Caves which are also worth a visit.

    2. Kailasa Temple (Ellora)

    The Kailasa Temple, part of the Ellora Caves (UNESCO World Heritage Site), is an impressive piece of art and architecture. This Hindu temple, built during the 8th century, is located in the Maharashtra State.

    Kailasa Temple

    Kailasa Temple

    Ellora Caves:
    Price: Rs. 10 Indians / Rs. 250 foreigners
    Opening: from 6:00 to 18:00, closed on Tuesdays

    3. Badami Cave Temples (Badami)

    The Badami Cave Temples, located in Karnataka, are a must-see for travelers visiting the area. This complex built from the 6th century, includes 4 main caves which are filled with carved walls, narrating the Jainism and Hinduism mythologies.

    The Badami Cave Temples are located 5km away from the Badami train station, not far from Badami's city center.

    Badami Cave Temples

    Badami Cave Temples

    Price: Rs. 5 Indians / Rs. 100 foreigners
    Opening: everyday, from 9:00 to 17:30

    4. Rock Garden of Chandigarh (Chandigarh)

    The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is the work of Nek Chand, a famous local self-taught artist. During more than 26 years, Nek Chand recycled wasted construction material to build this 16 ha garden. For almost 20 years, the garden was made without authorization and approbation from the legal authorities, it then became an official public space and was inaugurated in 1976.

    Rock Garden of Chandigarh

    Rock Garden of Chandigarh

    Price: Rs. 20 adult / Rs. 10 child
    Opening:

    • April 1 to September 30: from 9:00 to 17:30
    • October 1 to March 31: from 9:00 to 18:00

    Hop on one of the daily flights from Chandigarh to Mumbai to visit the last curiosity on our list:

    5. Kanheri Caves (Mumbai)

    The Kanheri Caves (the black mountain caves), located in Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park, are a large complex of caves and rock carved art pieces.

    You can access the Kanheri Caves can from the Borivali and Malad train stations.

    Kanheri Caves prayer hall, picture by AKS.9955

    Kanheri Caves prayer hall, picture by AKS.9955

    Price: Rs. 5 Indians / Rs. 100 foreigners
    Opening: everyday from 7:30 to 17:00

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    There are many rock-carved sites in India to choose from that will impress you just as much as the ones we picked. Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

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    Written by Aishwarya Narayanan
    Travel doesn't become an adventure until you leave yourself behind.

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    See also

    Tours and activities

    Ajanta Ellora Caves 2 Days combo Tour

    Visit all important cave site around Aurangabad i.e. Ajanta & Ellora in 2 Day guided tour in a private air-conditioned vehicle. Choose your stay as per your choice. Includes visit to Daulatabad fort and Bibi ka Maqbara.

    Taj Mahal & Agra Fort Tour

    Private Tour Day Trip to Agra: From Delhi Including Taj Mahal & Agra Fort, Baby Taj.