The Aurangabad caves are twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill running roughly east to west, close to the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The first reference to the Aurangabad Caves is in the great chaitya of Kanheri Caves. The Aurangabad Caves were dug out of comparatively soft basalt rock during the 6th and 7th century. The caves are divided into three separate groups depending on their location.
The carvings at the Aurangabad Caves are notable for including Hinayana style stupa, Mahayana art work and Vajrayana goddesses. These caves are among those in India that show 1st millennium CE Buddhist artwork with goddesses such as Durga, and gods such as Ganesha, although Buddhist caves in other parts of India with these arts are older. Numerous Buddhist deities of the Tantra tradition are also carved in these caves.
The cave temples of Aurangabad cut between the 6th and the 8th century are nine kilometers from Aurangabad city center, a few kilometers from the campus of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University and the Bibi-ka-Maqbara.
Carved in the Sihaychal ranges, the Aurangabad caves somewhat have been overshadowed by the UNESCO World Heritage monuments of Ellora and Ajanta cave temples. Though its sculptures are comparable to Ajanta and Ellora, the caves are much smaller, more decrepit and less visited. Though in the 20th century, a few scholars started looking at these cave temples as a missing link between Ajanta and Ellora and also after an exhaustive study, were compelled to describe it as a “ Sensitive remaking of life situated in time and space span”. It is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.