The caves were made in 2 phases separated by 5 centuries. The first phase, called the Early phase, was between 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE. Five caves (Caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A) at Ajanta are from this period. In this period, the region was ruled by the Satavahana kings. These caves are relatively simple. There are two chaityagṛhas and three vihāras from this period.
The second phase of construction at Ajanta was in the 5th century CE. Most of the caves at Ajanta are from this Later phase, two chaityagṛhas and numerous Later vihāras were made through royal patronage. These caves have elaborate sculptures and paintings. The region was ruled by Vakataka kings, and fell under the Vatsagulma branch under the ruler Hariṣeṇa.