Ajanta and nearby Ellora are two of the most amazing archaeological sites in India. Although handcrafted caves are scattered throughout India’s western state of Maharashtra, the complexes at Ajanta and Ellora – roughly 300 kilometers northeast of Mumbai (Bombay) – are the most elaborate and varied examples known. The caves aren’t natural caves, but man-made temples cut into a massive granite hillside. They were built by generations of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain monks, who lived, worked, and worshiped in the caves, slowly carving out elaborate statues, pillars, and meditation rooms.
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