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Incredible Ajanta Caves

Ajanta caves are fascinating, they are there with so many unanswered questions - why the caves were abandoned, who was architect, who designed those, how it was possible to cave in and then paint those amazing arts...

The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250-feet wall of rock.

The caves also present paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths of the Buddha, pictorial tales from Aryasura's Jatakamala, and rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist deities.

While vivid colors and mural wall-painting were abundant in Indian history as evidenced by historical records, Caves 16, 17, 1 and 2 of Ajanta form the largest corpus of surviving ancient Indian wall-painting.

No human eye saw the caves again until centuries later, in 1819 when an Englishman by the name of John Smith was hunting a tiger and he discovered a hidden doorway to one of the temples. We know this because he unfortunately left his name on the wall of the temple - and a date, which can still be seen today.

But although that first English discoverer did not go immediately public with his discovery, the existence of the caves became known, and soon after Indian and European tourists started pouring into the ancient site - after much digging and cleaning that is (the caves were home to many species of animals for centuries).

No one knows why the caves were deserted, and we may never know the answer to this mystery. But they continue to draw many visitors who marvel at the art of the ancients that came before them. With no signs of human settlements nearby, no one knows why this remote place was opted for building this mammoth architecture.

Double the size of Parthenon, the Caves in Ajanta are completely draped in Buddhism while Ellora is a blend of Hinduism (17 caves), Buddhism (12 caves), and Jainism (5 caves). Many caves were under mud for many hundred years, but still rock structures and some paintings are intact.


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