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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta caves is located 100 kilometer from Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra of India. It conjures before one’s vision, a dream of beauty of the caves, hidden in the middle of a lonely glen with a streamlet flowing down below, caves that were scooped out of the heart of the rock. The followers of Lord Buddha embellished with architectural details with a skillful command of the hammer over the chisel, with the paintings of infinite charm.
The unbelievable caves of Ajanta are dedicated exclusively to Buddhism. The caves including the unfurnished ones are thirty in number, of which five ( 9,10,19,26 and 29) are chitya-grihas (prayer halls) and the rest are sangharamas or viharas (monasteries). At Ajanta, caves have exotic paintings illustrating the life and incarnations of Prince Gautama Buddha who was the founder of Buddhism and in the more popular Jataka stories pertaining to Buddha’s previous incarnation.

Discovery of Ajanta Caves
A company of British soldiers discovered the enchanting Ajanta caves accidentally in the 19th century. Before the excavation of these caves, they were hidden under the thick vegetation for a long time. For centuries, man forgot these caves. These were discovered in AD 1819. They fall into two distinct phases with a break of nearly four centuries between them. All the caves of the earlier phase date from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. The caves of the second phase were excavated during the supremacy of the Vakatakas and Guptas. The Vakataka king dedicated cave 16 to the Buddhist sangha. While cave 17 was the gift of another prince, perhaps a feudatory. An inscription records that Buddha image in cave 4 was the gift of some Ahayanandi Who hailed from Mathura.

A few paintings, which survive on the walls of caves 9 and 10, go back to the 2nd century BC-AD. The second group of the painting started in about the fifth century AD. It continued for the next two centuries as, noticeable in later caves. The themes are intensely religious in tone and centre round Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-palaster in the tempera technique.


Influence of Greek Compositions
Some pictures remind the Greek and Roman compositions and proportions. Few pictures look like the Chinese manners to some extent. But majority belongs to a phase which is purely Indian as they are found now here else. The Ajanta caves resolve themselves into two phases, separated from each other by a good four hundred years. These architectural phases coincide with the two schools of Buddhist thought. The older Hinayana school of where the Buddha was represented only in symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or throne and the later Mahayana sect, which did not shy away from giving the lord a human form.

Ajanta Caves
The sculptures and paintings in the caves detail the Buddha’s life as well as the lives of the Buddha in his previous births, as related in the allegorical Jataka tales. You will also find in the caves a sort of illuminated history of the times- court scenes, street scenes, cameos of domestic life and even animal and bird studies came alive on these unlit walls. The paintings that adorn the wall and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of the Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. Among the more interesting paintings are the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnation of the Buddha as Bodhisattva, a saintly being who is destined to become the Buddha.

Aurangabad is a city which is situated in western side of India, in the state of Maharashtra. The city is famous for silk and fine silverwork. Aurangabad is one of the fastest growing and most rapidly in industrializing cities in Asia. In the 17th century it was the capital of the Mughal Empire. There are many Interesting places in aurangabad which is famous in all over India. Ajanta Caves, Bibi ka Maqbara, Ellora caves, Panchakki, Marathwada University etc. are the example of some famous monuments.

Photo Gallery
Water fall at Ajanta Caves

Visitors at Ajanta Caves

Garden at Ajanta Caves

Ajanta caves paintings

Ajanta Caves pictures

Ajanta caves Photo

Inside of caves

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