Ajanta caves in the Maharashtra (India)
Ajanta caves are very famous in the world this is World heritage historical sites in India.
Every year Many tourist’s from all over the world visited time to this Awesome place and enjoying their life. The Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 rock cut Buddhist caves monument which date from the 2nd century B. C. E. to about 480 C. E. in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India.
- The caves include painting painting and rock cut sculptures describe as among the one of the finest surviving example of ancient Indian art Particularly expressive paintings that present emotions through gesture pose and form
- According to UNESCO these are master peices of Buddhist relegious art that followed .
- The caves were built in two phases the first phase started around the 2nd century B. C. E. while the second phase was built around 400-650 C. E,
- According to older account or in abrief period of 460-480 C. E. according to later scholarship
- The site is protected monument in the care of the Archaeological survey of India,and since 1983,the Ajanta caves have been a world heritage site.
- The Buddhist theme of the Ajanta painting recount the life of lord Buddha and tales of his Previous earthly experience .
Ajanta Caves Historical Information
If exploring the chain of caves that comprise Ajanta is on your mind, and you are wondering from where to begin, we suggest the caves that stand out for their historical and artistic excellence.
- Cave 1: Lying on the eastern side of horseshoe-shaped bluff, this will invariably the first cave you will encounter while exploring the panorama of caves. The sprawling open courtyard on the facade of the cave is the reason for its steeper slope than the other caves. This was done in order to accommodate the grand facade, by cutting deep into the rock face. The artwork and the paintings in the cave, historians believe, was commissioned by Vakataka Emperor, Harishena, for the emphasis on royalty is conspicuous. Also, the Jataka tales depicted here talk about the previous births of Buddha where he was a royal. The cave in particular is breathtaking for its carved facade adorned with relief sculptures, and almost all surface is an embellished one with ornate carvings. The porch, the front court with little cells preceded by pillared antechambers, typical of the caves here in Ajanta, and the frieze over the cave with elaborate depictions of horses, bulls, elephants, lions, meditating monks and apsaras, characterise Cave 1. Apart from the architecture and detailing, it is truly the wealth of paintings adorning large portions of this cave, that leaves a visitor spellbound. Aside from scenes from Jataka tales, you have here two larger-than-life figures of the two Bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Padmapani on each side of the entrance to the Buddhist shrine
- Cave 2: Adjacent to Cave 1 is another cave whose walls, pillars and ceilings are thick with paintings. The murals portray an apparent bias for the feminine form aside from some 5th century frescoes that depict children studying in school, some listening to the teacher and the others enacting something. The carving of this cave happened between 475 and 477 CE, believed to me commissioned by a woman aide of Emperor Harishena. Unlike Cave 1’s focus on kingship, the paintings and rock carvings in Cave 2 are about powerful women playing a prominent role in the society. This cave is remarkable for its strong pillars and the carvings and paintings in all kinds of decorative themes such as human, animal, vegetation and divine motifs, with plenty of carvings dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of fertility, Hariti.
- Cave 16: Ensconced smack in the middle of the site with a fleet of stairs leading into the single-storey structure is Cave 16 with two elephant figures placed on either side of the entrance. This cave was commissioned by Emperor Harishena’s minister, Varahadeva and dedicated to the community of monks. Scholars term this the ‘crucial cave’ in terms of influencing the architecture of the entire cave network of Ajanta, and for being a paradigm in understanding the chronology of the second and final phase of the construction of the cave complex. Cave 16 is a Vihara with the customary setup of a main doorway, two aisle doorways and two windows to let in some sunlight and brighten the dark interiors. The wealth of paintings in this cave will hold you in a thrall. Aside from depictions from various Jataka tales there are frescoes recounting mythological events like the miracle of Sravasti, conversion of Nanda – the half brother of Buddha, including the popular Jataka fresco of the Bodhisattva elephant that sacrificed itself to serve as food for starving people. Head to the left of the entrance and follow a clockwise pattern to follow the entire narrative. Explore scenes from the life of Buddha like the one where Sujata is offering food to Buddha robed in white carrying a begging bowl.
- Cave 17: Like Cave 16, this one too has two stone elephants placed on either side of the entrance. Commissioned by Vakataka prime minister, Varahadeva and with donation from local king Upendragupta, Cave 17 is home to the greatest, and perhaps the most sophisticated, Viraha architecture. The cave also boasts of an assortment of paintings that are well-preserved, and over the years have become synonymous with Ajanta Caves. The broader theme of the frescoes here is bringing out the human virtues as mentioned in the Jataka tales with a growing attention to detail. It comprises a colonnaded porch, an array of pillars each with a unique design, a shrine in an antechamber in the heart of the cave, larger windows to let in more light, and extensive carvings of gods and goddesses from Indian mythology. With 30 important murals in Cave 17 alone including portrayal of Buddha in various postures alongside dabbling in themes as diverse as shipwrecks, lovers in throes of passion, a princess wearing makeup and a couple drinking wine together – a thread picked up from the goings-on of the early 1st millennium society, this cave is historically paramount.
Outstanding Universal Value
The Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra have found their way in the memoirs of a Mughal official of Akbar era in the early 17th century. Lost in the abounding lush green landscapes, they were accidentally discovered and were excavated in 1819 by a British colonial officer on a tiger-hunting party. They have been known to be first stated about in the chaityas and are the most ancient monuments. A major part of these caves were created in the 2nd century BC. With the downfall of the Vakataka empire in 480 AD, these caves were soon abandoned after the death of Harishena. The loyal patrons of these caves fled and Buddhist monasteries
*Important Reference Book for the study of Ancient India art and Architecture
1.Ancient India | First Edition | By -Upinder Singh, Pearson: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century.
2.India’s Ancient Past-R.S.Sharma.
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3. Ancient India – R. C. Mujumdar
Buy from- https://amzn.to/314ff0y
4. Ancient India in Historical Outline-by-D.N.Zha.
Buy from – https://amzn.to/2XesSZE
5.Indian Art and Culture -by-Nitin Singhania
Buy from –https://amzn.to/33cHeh7
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