Ajanta caves are located 99-km away from Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra. Ajanta caves were carved out from the 2nd century BC to 6th century AD. They were hidden in the midst of a lonely glen with a streamlet flowing down below. They were scooped out into the heart of the rock so that the pious Buddhist monk could dwell and pray. These are the caves that the followers of Lord Buddha, embellished with architectural details with a skilful command of the hammer over the chisel, with sculpture of highest craftsmanship and above all, with the paintings of infinite charm. The entire course of the evolution of Buddhist architecture can be traced in Ajanta.
Allahabad or Prayag as it was once called, has been a city of holy pilgrimage for Indians for thousands of years. Here, on the banks of the Ganges at its confluence with the Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati, known as Sangam, a once in 12 years festival - the Kumbha - is staged, the largest bathing event in the world. Spread over a month, the Kumbha Mela is particularly picturesque for the holy men and the crowds it attracts. A lesser event is the yearly Magh Mela, by no means any less impressive. Renowned for its university too, Allahabad has been responsible for giving the country some of its national political leaders and many scholars. A peaceful city, it can be a quiet retreat for those looking for a tranquil holiday.
Founded in the 15th century by Ahmed Shah, the independent Sultan of Gujarat, Ahmedebad is now the industrial capital of the State and a graceful blend of old and new.
Gandhiji set up the Sabarmati Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmathi river in 1915. This was the nerve centre of India's freedom movement. In 1930 Gandhiji began his famous Dandi March from here. Adalaj - Vav, a step well with intricate stone carvings was the source of water to travellers in the past. It is now a monument. The Sidi Saiyad Mosque built by an Abyssinian who rose from the ranks of a Slave to Governor in the 15th century is famous for its exquisite twin windows of pierced stone, worked in a design of a tree with palm leaves and curving tendrils. The Jumma Masjid and Rani Sipri mosque known as `jewel among mosques' are among the many beautiful monuments of Ahmedabad.
Aurangabad is the main town in the inland plateau of Maharashtra named after Aurangzeb, the last of the six great Mughal Emperors. The Aurangabad caves - excavated in three groups on a small hill are very interesting and are of Buddhist origin. They comprise of chapels and monasteries, some of which have excellent specimens of exquisite sculpture. Bibi Ka Maqbara, a mausoleum built in 1679 by the Emperor Aurangzeb's son, in tribute to his mother - Begum Rabia Durani - is a replica of Taj Mahal and the only example of Moghul architecture of its kind in the Deccan plateau. See Panchakki - the 17th century water mill used to grind grain for the troops of the garrison, for the pilgrims and the disciples of an Islamic Saint , whose tomb is in the precincts of the Panchakki Gardens.
Legendary heroism and romance lend enchantment to Kachchh, the land of great antiquity forming the north-western part of Gujarat. The most import place in the area is the walled town of Bhuj, picturesquely placed between two streams. Kachchh is famous the world over for its sturdy horses and cows as also for wide variety of its handicrafts. Bandhini (tie-and-dyes) and hand-printed saris, embroidery and needle work, exquisite gold and silver ornaments known as Kutchi work, gilding and enamelling are some of its traditional crafts. Nutcrackers, scissors and penknives are metalware specialities of Kuchchh.