The Ajanta Caves were carved out of the rocky hillside surrounding a bend in the Waghora River. During the dry season, the riverbed becomes a footpath but in the rainy season, people wade through the stream over slippery rocks.
Looking at the series of caves from the perspective of the later caves, one can see the dry Waghora Riverbed and how the caves were carved out of the rocky hillside. Metal railings have been constructed in recent years for the safety of tourists and pilgrims.
Standing near the first caves, one sees a series of caves carved out of the rocky hilllside. Some caves functioned as viharas or monasteries, while others were built as chaityas or prayer halls.