Aurangabad is 388km (240 miles) NE of Mumbai
The ancient cave temples at Ellora and Ajanta are among the finest historical sites India has to offer, and a detour to this far-flung region of Maharashtra to view these World Heritage Sites is well worth the effort. You can cover both Ellora and Ajanta comfortably in 2 days, but for those who are truly pressed for time, it is possible to see both sets of caves in a single (long, tiring) day. To do this, you'll need a packed lunch from your hotel, and plenty of bottled water. Set out for Ajanta at about 7am, reaching the ticket office as it opens (recommended for the tranquillity of the experience, even if you're not trying to cover both in a day). Spend no more than 3 hours exploring Ajanta, before heading for Ellora; your driver should be aware of the detour along the Ajanta-Aurangabad road that will get you there much faster. The caves at Ellora are spread out, so don't drag your heels, and be sure not to miss the ultimate jaw-dropper, known as "Cave 16": the Kailashnath temple complex is more carved mountain than cave. The world's largest monolithic structure, it is twice the size of the Parthenon. Note that Ajanta is closed on Monday and Ellora on Tuesday.
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