Pitalkhora caves in Maharashtra (Aurangabad district) are among the earliest caves in India. These are situates in the dense forest near Gautala Wildlife Sanctuary.
Location: Chandora Hill, Near Bharmarwadi village, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra (India)
Best Time To Visit: October to February is the best time to visit Pitalkhora caves in Maharashtra. These caves lie on a high hill and you need to cross a water stream to reach at the top. So avoid visiting this spot during monsoon season.
Formation: These caves are one of the oldest cave structures in India that dates back to 1st century BC to 5th Century AD.
Pitalkhora Caves Information
Also known as Brazen Glen, caves of Pitalkhora are there in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. These caves are very old and dates back to 1st century BC to 5th Century AD. It is a largest group of monuments belonging to Satavahana Dynasty. Pitalkhora caves in Maharashtra are just 12 km away from the Aurangabad city. These are total 14 rock-cut Buddhist caves mainly having monasteries. This marvellous set of caves is on the high hill amidst Satmala montains of Sahyadri Mountain Range. You need to cross a water stream & a set of steps to reach at the top!
Caves of Pitalkhora are not much popular as compared to the neighbouring Ajanta & Ellora Caves. These caves were discovered after Ajanta Caves probably in 1853. However, they have fine architectural features and paintings. Pitalkhora caves are among the best caves structures in Maharashtra. They lie on the Aurangabad- Chalisgaon road and 40 km away from the famous Ellora Caves. The caves are divided into Group I & Group II. Cave number 1 to 9 comes under Group I and Cave number 10 to 14 comes under Group II. Few rare crystals and reliquaries were found in the stupa of Pitalkhora Caves in Maharashtra.
Cave Structure Architecture
The main entrance of the caves has large terrace balcony along with carvings of Snakes and door guards (Dwarpal). A line of elephants carvings is there inside the cave hall. There is a flight of steps that connects the main door to Chaitya Griha. The cave complex consists of Viharas, 2 caves, Stupas and Viharas. Rare sculptures of Yaksha Figures are there inside Pitalkhora Caves in Maharashtra. Tourists can see various carvings like decorative animals, elephants, Yaksha figure, window designs, Mithunas and guardians (Dwarpal).
Due to the much ageing of structure, the actual columns (Total 37) of had become weak. So now they are now replaced with cement concrete columns to prevent a collapse of structure. Few old paintings dating back to the 5th century are there on some original columns. These paintings depicts life teachings of Lord Buddha.
Out of 14 caves, 4 are chaitya grihas, 1 stupa, 1 apsidal & a cell and the rest are viharas. The cave sculptures of Pitalkhora caves are similar to Sanchi Caves in Madhya Pradesh, Karla Caves in Lonavala and Pandavleni Caves in Nashik. Few structures and carvings in cave have damaged due to its ageing and climatic conditions. But most of the cave structures are still in good shape.
Pitalkhora Aurangabad History
Caves are very vital in history point of view because they have traces of both Mahayana and Hinayana sect of Buddhism. Most of these caves were carved out in a Basalt stone on a mountain slope with no protection at all. Because of this, they were open to the worst climatic conditions throughout their lifespan.
Another thing is, the location of Pitalkhora Caves in Maharashtra is in remote part so no big steps were taken towards their maintenance in early days. This eventually resulted in deterioration of rock structures. Still the beauty of this place is still intact. You can get magnificent views of the surrounding greenery and water streams from top!
IMPORTANT TOURIST INFORMATION
Time Required: It is a one day trip from Aurangabad city.
How To Reach Pitalkhora Caves in Maharashtra
Caves are accessible from Bhamarwadi village. ST buses and private vehicles are available from Aurangabad city Bhamarwadi. Caves are more 9 km away from the village. Then you have to do this beautiful trek through wild in order to reach till caves.
- 2nd Route: There is a diversion at Kalimath on the Aurangabad – Chalisgaon road. Take it and travel 4 km ahead till caves. Caves are situated in a valley below that point. Then you have to ascend via steep steps into valley. There is a water stream between the descending way which remains full during monsoon season. ASI has built an iron bridge to cross that stream. You will come across a stunning natural beauty via this route!
- By Road: MSRTC (ST) buses ply regularly to Aurangabad from major cities in Maharashtra like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Dhule etc. Private travel buses also has access to Aurangabad from all these cities. From Aurangabad, you can easily find a local transport vehicle till Pitalkhora.
- Nearest Train Station: Aurangabad railway station is the nearest railhead to reach these caves. Station is 77 km away from Pitalkhora caves. Aurangabad has good connectivity to other railway stations in Maharashtra. Tapovan Express and Devgiri Express ply daily to Aurangabad from Mumbai.
- Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Chikhalthana airport is the closest airport to reach caves. Airport is 84 km away from the caves. It is well connected to various cities in India like Mumbai, Delhi, Udaipur and Jaipur.
Accommodation/ Stating Options
There are large number of hotels and guest houses in Aurangabad fitting to all budgets. You can easily find an accommodation option as per your comfort and budget. MTDC resort is also available in Aurangabad. You can check availability of MTDC room at this link.
Restaurants Nearby/ Eating Stuff: There are no restaurants near Pitalkhora Caves in Maharashtra. You can have your food in Aurangabad or Chalisgaon depending on your travel route. Carry sufficient water and food along with you. (Kindly do not throw the remaining waste and plastic in the cave area. Do care for the mother nature and its beauty!).
- Gautala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ajanta Caves
- Ellora Caves
- Aurangabad Caves
- Daulatabad (Devagiri) Fort
- Bibi Ka Maqbara
- Chand Minar
Map To Reach:
Official Contacts For Pitalkhora Caves In Maharashtra
- of India Tourist Office
Address: Krishna Vilas, Station Road,
Aurangabad – 431005, Maharashtra.
- Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Aurangabad
Address: Holiday Resort, Station Road, Aurangabad – 431001.