Mumbai, formerly Bombay, serves as a jumping point to visit the world famous rock-hewn caves of Ajanta that lie some 60 miles from Aurangabad. These 30 caves, arranged in the shape of a mammoth horseshoe date back to the 2nd century B.C. Discovered in 1819, by a group of British army officers, these fabulous temples took around 600 years to create. Carved with little more than a hammer and chisel, Ajanta, once the retreat of Buddhist monastic orders features several ‘chaityas’ (chapels) and ‘viharas’ (monasteries). The exquisite wall and ceiling paintings, panels and sculptures of Buddha’s life are renowned worldwide for being the earliest and finest examples of Buddhist pictorial art. To make your journey to this area complete you should not miss seeing the Ellora Shrines from where you can return to Mumbai. Ellora, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of ancient India to life. Not only is the Ellora complex a unique artistic creation and a technological exploit but also, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India. The magnificant temples of Ajanta and Ellora are best tailored into your India tour itinerary as an extesnion from Mumbai.