Ellora Caves and Bibi ka Maqbara Travel Guide

Ellora Caves and Bibi ka Maqbara Travel Guide

What does religion mean to you – A system of faith, an interest followed by great devotion or worship of a superhuman power? India is a land where people of different religions and cultures have tried to live in harmony for over centuries.

Our next travel city is an outstanding example that illustrates the spirit of religion tolerance in ancient India.  Cradle of the Mughal Empire and home to two important UNESCO World Heritage Sites that were devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

When I first saw pictures of Kailasa temple, we immediately made a plan to visit this place. Our ancestors have left behind such marvels that the place evokes a true sense of wonder in you. Rock carvings with such intricate detailing, massive structures of Gods, Goddesses, elephants and pillars – this art speaks thousand words. A story that ancient people wanted to preserve, share and pass on for generations. I was totally mesmerised looking at the carvings – Buddha statue under a Pipal tree, Goddess Lakshmi sitting inside a lotus, elephants sprinkling water, snakes and lion faces. So much was carved inside each of the caves.

Ellora Caves
Rock Carvings on Kailasa Temple

Since we had only a weekend to explore the city, we picked only two spots and spent maximum time here studying about it.


We have all heard about the Taj Mahal, a tomb built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. But very few of us know about the Taj built in the Deccan region of India, again for his beloved wife. Bibi-ka-Maqbara was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his wife, Rabia-ud-durrani. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb is the son of Mumtaz Mahal in memory of whom the Taj Mahal in Agra was built. Both monuments have striking similarities in terms of architecture. However, Bibi-ka-Maqbara had severe budgetary constraints and hence resulted in a poor copy. Although most people compare it with the Taj Mahal and get disappointed, I would say look at it as an individual monument with its own beauty from the Deccan.

Ellora Caves
The place is crowded at the tomb so we enjoyed a view from the Gardens. Also the best spot!

Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves
Early morning view
Ellora Caves
Walk in the Mughal Gardens – spot Squirrels and rare birds. Peaceful place.

Ellora Caves

I was really surprised and shocked to know the Kailasa Temple was actually carved from top to bottom with simple hammers and chisels (like what can you expect between 2nd and 10th Century BCE).

Ellora Caves

It is truly a breathtaking construction done on a single rock and brings ancient civilisation to life.

Ellora Caves
Elephant Faces
Ellora Caves
Ancient meets Modern

Ellora Caves
Getting There

Aurangabad city is easily accessible by train or air from major cities in India. From Mumbai and Pune, the best route is by road(taxi). MSRTC buses have a good frequency but would not be a comfortable journey option.

Travel within Aurangabad can be done hiring a local cab mostly provided by the Hotels where you stay or try Ashoka Tours & Travel

Where to Stay

For stay, we would personally recommend 1) Vivanta by Taj 2) Keys Select Hotel Aures.

Hotel Kailas is walking distance from Ellora caves that provides standard rooms and this hotel usually gets filled up first.

Best Time to Visit

November to March, when it’s cooler and dry

Timings of Tourist Places

All tourist destinations in Aurangabad are open between 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays & Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays. Best time to visit these Caves and Bibi-ka-maqbara are at 6.00 AM when there is fairly less crowd. Both caves are open on national holidays.

Entrance Fees

Entrance Fees for Indians is hardly INR 30 at each of the spot and for foreigners INR 500. There are Government authorised Guides here as well. Highly recommended if you are a history lover.

Other Places to Visit

Ajanta Caves (another 90kms from Ellora Caves), Daulatabad Fort (requires 3 hours of trekking but worth visiting if you have the time), Grishneswar Temple, Aurangabad Caves, Lonar Crater(created from a meteorite hitting on earth).

Things to Shop

Himroo and Paithani Fabric – rich in colour and design

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