The UNESCO World heritage site Ellora caves, which is located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, could soon become the first in India to have a hydraulic lift at an Indian heritage site. It will soon have a hydraulic lift to help visitors reach the second story of the caves. This will mark the first time a hydraulic lift has been installed at an Indian heritage site. This will help visitors reach platforms, which are difficult to reach by foot, for better viewing of rock-cut architecture, a senior authority of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said on Sunday.
The decision comes after a study revealed that tourist numbers at Ellora have increased substantially over the last few years. The cave complex is witnessing the footfall of around 2,000 to 3,000 tourists including international travelers. Hence, the ASI is doing small or big improvements that would be beneficial for tourism if Ellora could be made more accessible for tourists. This will also provide better access to people with disabilities who cannot climb stairs.
Around 30 km away from Aurangabad Ellora caves are one of the largest rock-cut temple complexes in the world which are home to Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu sculptures, making them a major tourist attraction in the region.
There are a total of 34 caves in the complex, among which cave number 16, famously known as Kailash cave is a double-story structure where tourists have to climb stairs. This part does have stairs and a ramp as a smooth surface for wheelchairs, the ASI proposed the installation of small lifts on both sides, said Milan Kumar Chauley who is a superintendent archaeologist of Aurangabad circle. The cost for the project is yet to be announced as some paperwork is ongoing.
There are many more proposals given to the government to make Ellora a more attractive and easily accessible tourist attraction for National and International tourists like installing lights, increasing the number of ticket counters, creating selfie points, constructing toilet blocks with advanced sanitary facilities, and so on, which will take approximately a year to be in service, Chauley said.