Asia Observances Winter Solstice Events

Ajanta Caves in India – Winter Solstice Observance

Enjoy the winter solstice observance at the Ajanta Caves in India


The Ajanta Caves in India – carved from a mountain cliff (photo copyright 2006 flicr user Pablo Pecora)  (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Flicr

Experience the alignment of the winter solstice sunrise at the sacred caves of Ajanta in India, carved from a mountain cliff.
What: Solar Alignment & Observance
Where: Cave 19, Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra state of India
When: Winter Solstice
Time: Sunrise


Ajanta Caves India, The Spiritual Sun

About the Ajanta Caves in India

Observe the winter solstice at the majestic site in India – The Ajanta Caves, where from a solid granite rock mass emerging from a mountainside 76 meters high, 30 caves have been carved out, forming the Buddhist temples and sanctuaries for the ancient peoples that once lived and worshiped at this site, recorded as early as 2nd century BCE. This breathtaking ”horseshoe-shaped escarpment”, discovered ”by accident” during a hunting expedition, is set in the beautiful Aurangabad jungle, overlooking the Waghora River.

The Winter Solstice Alignment

Ajanta Cave 19 entrance by Arian Zwegers

Cave 19 entrance, Ajanta Caves. By Arian Zwegers (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flicr.

The Ajanta Caves are known for two very special celestial alignments – the winter and summer solstices.

The sun rays on the two solstices highlight two different defining scenes of the Buddha and his stupa.

On the summer solstice the Buddha is shown seated, whereas on the winter solstice he is standing. Out of all the caves and areas at this ancient site, cave nineteen and cave twenty-six have been highlighted to shine the morning solstice sunrise light directly at these unique Buddha statues, once when the Buddha is seated, and another when he is standing.

Ajanta Cave 19 Spiritual Sun

Cave 19 at Ajanta is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise. By Arian Zwegers (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flicr.

Visiting the Caves

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind for visiting the caves. (Page 12)


Below is a video that sheds light on the intriguing history and landscape of the Ajanta Caves and animates the solstice alignments in cave 19 and 26. This is a video from the History Channel which contains some of their own theories and opinions about the site.

Another video that highlights the overall majestic feat of the Ajanta Caves explained by anthropologist Robert Sepehr.

A Note About Visiting Ancient Sites

Please be mindful and respectful of the ancient sites.  Treat them with care as to not disturb them, damage them or remove anything from them. Help protect these incredible sites so that they can continue to stand the test of time.

Please Note

This event is not run by The Spiritual Sun. Please contact the Archaelogical Survey of India if you would like more details about the site such as opening times, admission tickets, restrictions etc.

Back to all events.

Article by Christos Grapsas & Olga Grapsas

About the author



  • That’s so interesting. Compared to many other sacred sites featured on this website, this one is relatively ‘new’, but its solar alignments and the advanced art of building relate it to the very ancient ones. I wonder if we’ll come across some sacred sites of Christian or other more recent tradition.

  • I would love to visit this site one day too. It’s baffling to see the accuracy of the alignments of the two caves to the summer and winter solstice. Making a structure aligned with such events takes some skills, but cutting out a cave beautifully detailed and then making sure it’s aligned to a solstice is a feat of its own.

    Unfortunate to see the view that the history channel takes on these monuments possibly linking them to ETs who cloned the creatures depicted in those caves. It sounds a little far fetched to me. As the Buddha went through the path of enlightenment, it makes more sense that these depictions could well be creatures within his own internal world that he meet or faced as he progressed.

  • I would like to visit that region one day and admire all these sculptures, wall paintings and even some cosmological events taking place. It is such an amazing culture story with internal considerations.

    So, thank you, Olga, for bringing it back to our attention by this beautiful journey into time.

  • Thanks for highlighting that winter solstice alignment. This place seems like one of those exotic faraway places that voyagers would tell about when coming back from their long journeys, along with all the mythical animals they had seen. However this place is real and it’s really cool that it has stayed intact.

    The carvings seem like a great amount of work and, from a very very quick glance, it appears the caves for the solstice alignments are the most elaborate?

    Time flies though as this event reminds me (if the cold and darkness hadn’t already) that we’re heading for the solstice!

  • This looks like an incredible feat of ingenuity. When seeing places like this, or something similar in Europe, like a beautiful Cathedral or stone circle, I think of how comparatively plain and ugly the creations are of today. We don’t make things for God any more. And even if we do, they pail in comparison to the things our ancient kin created.
    Thank you for helping show that solar worship has existed around the world – it’s the uniting thread of our varied religious worship.

    • I agree Ella. I think what we build reflects what’s inside. And as the connection to the spiritual is lost by people and not valued and the focus is on other things, sacred places and buildings like the beautiful ones of the past are no longer built, even if we do have more advanced building technology at our disposal today.

  • Thanks very much Olga, this is such a unique and beautiful place.

    Great videos, I find that this is another great ancient temple which proves our true connection to the Spiritual Sun.

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