Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $1095  
Length: 4 days
Arrive: Mumbai, India
Depart: Mumbai, India
Lodging: 3 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level: Cultural explorations, walking tours
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Our Trips using this Extension


The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Ancient Cities and Monuments of the Deccan Plateau

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

Explore the extraordinary rock-cut caves at Ajanta and Ellora, both World Heritage Sites, adorned with exquisite religious art, sculptures, wall paintings, and rare architectural carvings. These impressive sites, hand-carved into volcanic cliffs in remote sylvan settings, represent the earliest examples of Indian art. The caves of Ajanta feature Buddhist art, particularly murals and frescoes, while the temples and monasteries of Ellora offer a mixture of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist art.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1, February 7
Mumbai / Aurangabad

 After arriving in Mumbai, we connect to our flight to Aurangabad, gateway to the magnificent rock-cut chapels, temples, and monasteries at Ajanta and Ellora. Dinner and overnight at the Taj Residency Aurangabad...BD

Day 2, February 8
Aurangabad / Ajanta

We head to the Waghora Valley, home to the extraordinarily beautiful Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site hewn from the near-vertical side of a ravine. Older than those at Ellora (which we explore tomorrow), the Ajanta caves were cut from the volcanic lava in a crescent-shaped hillside between 200 BC and 650 AD. Lost to the world after the 7th century, they were rediscovered by accident in 1819 by a party of British officers on a hunting expedition. The immaculately preserved cave art at Ajanta depicts the full spectrum of Buddhist development in India. Each cave is adorned with a swirling profusion of murals, among the finest works of religious art in existence. The paintings on the ceiling, particularly the images of the charging bull, the black princess, and the row of dancers with musicians, mesmerize travelers from all over the world. In its heyday, Ajanta’s caves sheltered more than 200 Buddhist monks along with sculptors, painters, and laborers employed in excavation. Inscriptions on the caves indicate that the earliest cave excavations took place in the second century BCE. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight...BLD

Days 3-4, February 9-10
Aurangabad / Ellora / Depart

After breakfast at the hotel, we head to Ellora, another UNESCO World Heritage Site with an amazing wealth of rock-cut caves full of religious art and sculpture. Thirty-four Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain caves line the mile-long Chamadidri escarpment at Ellora. The Buddhist caves, dating from 500 to 750 AD, belong to the Vajrayana Buddhism era and include monasteries and chapels. Of the Hindu caves, the colossal 8th century Kailasanatha Temple, a spectacular complex of halls, galleries, and shrines, is the most magnificent. Designed to represent Mount Kailas, the abode of Shiva, the gigantic, multi-level freestanding temple was carved from a single rock and contains countless galleries with sculpted panels. It is estimated it took at least 100 years to complete construction of this dazzling monument. The Jain caves, less grand in comparison, are still richly carved with lotus, elephant, lions, and “tirthankaras” of Lord Mahavira, offering an aura of peace and simplicity. We also visit Aurangabad’s majestic fortress of Daulatabad, an impregnable citadel in its day, still standing tall. In the early evening, we board a flight to Mumbai, where dayrooms are available at the Orchid Airport Hotel until it’s time to transfer to the airport for flights which primarily depart just after midnight...BL (Day 16)

Extension Cost

Prices are for 2015
$1095 (10-15 members)
$1195 (6-9 members)
$1295 (4-5 members)
Single supplement: $315
Internal airfare: $530 (subject to change)

Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Extension Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of Wilderness Travel Trip Leader (with a minimum of 4 people) and local guides
  • Accommodations
  • All meals included
  • Ground transportation and baggage handling
  • Sightseeing as noted with entrance fees to all sites
  • Airport transfers for passengers arriving Day 13 and departing after midnight of Day 15

Extension Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal airfare, meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, hotels en route from Mumbai or additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, departure airport transfers other than on Day 15, visa fees, cost of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Taj Residency Aurangabad

Taj Residency Aurangabad

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Aurangabad, India

An ideal base for visiting the extraordinary Ajanta and Ellora caves, the green and serene Taj Residency is a modern hotel built with unique ...
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Orchid Hotel Mumbai

Orchid Hotel Mumbai

Day 3 (1 night), Mumbai, India

The Hotel Orchid has clean, comfortable rooms and a convenient location near Mumbai's domestic airport. There is a rooftop pool and the restaurant ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.