(Last Updated on : 04/11/2020)
Pitalkhora caves are some of the most popular sites located at a distance of 40 kms from Ellora caves
. Known for its age old rock cut architecture these are one of the oldest rock cut caves which can be dated back to 2nd and 3rd century BC. These caves have been a major centre for the Buddhists
who developed it as their monastery. The caves are cut in a variety of basalt rock, but some of the caves have crumbled and are damaged. All the caves belong to the Hinayana
period, but the reasonably well preserved paintings are of the Mahayana
Architecture of Pitalkhora Caves
As the caves are located at the hill top it can be reached through steep staircases which provide access to the 14 Buddhist caves which are largely monasteries
. Dated back to 2nd and 3rd century these caves are one of the oldest satvahanas monuments of Maharashtra
. Though not so popular as the Ajanta caves and Ellora caves yet these are known for their architecture. The entrance of these caves is decorated with the sculpture of serpents, guardians and elephants which decorate the hall of the monastery. Animal motives, miniatures, and Chaitya
widows are also engraved in these monasteries. Overall the caves include a number of monasteries and viharas which provide some knowledge about the lifestyle of Buddhist monks. The architecture of these caves includes a number of pillars which are mainly erected to hold the caves from demolition. Decorated with paintings of 5th century these caves are considered to be one of the finest architecture in Maharashtra. Though parts of the sight and its sculptures have fallen into the cliff yet much of it still exist which adds to the scenic beauty of the sight.
By road travellers can reach Aurangabad, where these caves are situated by availing state buses that operate from Pune
, Nasik to Aurangabad
. Jalgaon is the nearest railway station at a distance of 59km. from Ellora. Devgiri Express and Tapovan Express travel daily between the cities Mumbai and Aurangabad. Chikalthana is the nearest airport at a distance of 30km. from Ellora and 12 km from Aurangabad.
Thus the Pitalkhora caves are considered to be one of the most ancient sights in Maharashtra which exhibit great excitement. Surrounded with tropical greenery and a stream which remains filled with water during the monsoon
season, this is one of the most picturesque sights around Ellora caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra that attract tourist from far off regions.