Carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri Hills between the sixth and tenth centuries these “caves” are awe inspiring and magnificent. Some are in complete and others are filled with carving, benches, and temples.

There are thirty-four caves in all; 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and five Jain. Each is numbered, some have a short explanation, and all of them carved out of rock, most, as I understand it, from the top down. The oldest caves are the Buddhist ones, carved from 500 to 750. The Hindu caves were carved from 600 to 870 and the Jain from 800 to 1,000.

The most impressive was number 16. It is a magnificent temple carved from solid rock. The sacred destinations website reports that 250,000 tons of rock was removed and it took 100 years to carve. It is twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens.

We hired Ali, an entrepreneur in the area, to drive us from our hotel in Aurangabad to the caves. He handed us over to Onis, a lovely gentle helpful man who helped guide us. We made it through ten or twelve and started to tire. We relied on our guide to help skip some and to focus on the most important. We skipped about ten of the Hindu caves and walked a kilometer or so to the Jain caves. It was warm, but not as humid today, but the heat and climbing up and down the stairs wore me out.

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