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Exciting tales from Ajanta Caves

Posted on October 1, 2012 | Historic DestinationNo Comment

Visit the Ajanta Caves and enjoy the pleasures of a historical landmark in this part of the world in India. This is one of the world’s greatest monuments in history and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is around 55 kms from the city of Jalgaon and around 105 kms from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. There are around 30 caves in Ajanta and of these the Caves 9, 10, 12, 26, and 29 are chaitya grihas. The rest of the caves are monasteries. Discovered sometime in 1819 AD these were built sometime in the early half of the second century BC. Most of the cave paintings in Ajanta belong to the 2nd century and some of them are from the 5th century AD. These paintings exhibit a very heavy influence of Buddhism and depict a lot of Bodhisatva incidents in the life of Gautam Buddha. The paintings have been done on mud plaster in the tempera technique.

These caves are found amidst a streamlet flowing nearby and amongst a lonely glen. These caves were taken out so that a Buddhist monk passing by could live here and pray and spread the religion of Buddhism. The sculpture in the caves shows great craftsmanship and the paintings are really charming and endearing.

Ajanta Caves

The paintings on the walls show the life of Prince Gautam who is the founder of the Buddhist religion. The Jataka stories are also depicted here and these stories show the previous incarnation of Lord Buddha. The Buddha showed a lot of mercy and kindness till he finally achieved the final birth as the Sage of the Sakyas.

The caves contain the scenes of historical mythology and also show the popular life of those times. There are many pictures that show compositions of Greek and Roman origin and some of them even show a lot of Chinese influence. Most of the paintings however are predominantly Indian and the monuments that have been constructed here also show a lot of majestic proportions and elegant designs. The older constructions belong to the Hinayana period of Buddhism and have been built in the later part of the second century AD. This was the time when the Buddhist religion got divided into two – under the great king Kanishka.

King Kanishka

The nearest airport to Ajanta is the Aurangabad airport and is reached from Mumbai and New Delhi. Jalgaon is the nearest railway station and is easily approached from all Indian cities.

The cave timings are from 9 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening. These caves are closed on Mondays but are open on all national holidays.

Thi world heritage site is situated very near the city of Aurangabad and dates back to 200 BC and have been excavated in two phases. They took around 800 years to complete and are made up of chaityas or shrines in memory of Lord Buddha and also Viharas or monasteries that are used today by Buddhist monks to meditate.

Lord Buddha

Sometime in the year 1819, there were some British soldiers who were hunting in the Deccan. One of them saw a horse shoe rock. He ventured further and found many other caves amidst the shrubs and bushes. Goatherds used it for shelter and after the Government took over and excavated the presence of these beautiful caves were found.

The verandahs, inner walls, ceilings show some of the most fascinating pieces of constructions and world art. The Buddhist mounds and the Viharas are the major features here. Then you have huge Buddha sculptures, TAras or female Buddhist divinities, Dwarpalas or doorkeepers which complete the entire experience of visiting the Ajanta Caves.

Buddhist Divinities

An inscription of King Harisena is also found here belonging to the Vakataka dynasty. It is said that the local Vakatakas had a lot of alliance with the Gupta Kings of the northern part of India.

Tours to India are replete with a lot of fantastic mythology and historical proportions. The Ajanta Caves only endorses this.

Visit the Ajanta Caves and enjoy a journey down the past history of India.

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