Monday, July 16, 2012

Ajanta Caves

On our tour of Maharashtra, we stayed in Aurangabad for two days to see the local sites as well as Devgiri, Ajanta, Grihaneshwar and Ellora. Our next destination is Ajanta which is 107 kms away from the city. This is a World Heritage site famous for ancient rock-cut caves which are in the form of a gigantic horseshoe-shaped cliff, overlooking a bend of the Waghora river. 



These caves about 30 in total showcase earliest Buddhist architecture and sculptures. They are known more for finest cave paintings (Ajanta Masterpieces) of exceptional quality depicting several moral stories, and stories illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattava.



These Caves comprise Chaitya Halls, or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha and monasteries, used by Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings. The Caves of Ajanta can be classified into two distinct phases.

Phase I, the earlier Hinayana phase, in which the Buddha was worshipped only in the form of certain symbols during the period 2nd century BC to 1st century BC.

Caves 9 & 10: Chaitya Halls or shrines

Caves 12 & 13: Viharas or monasteries


Phase II, the later Mahayana phase, in which the Buddha was worshiped in his physical form. Here shrines and monasteries are of the period 5th century AD to 6th century AD

Caves 19, 26 & 29: Chaitya Halls or shrines

Caves 1, 2, 3, 4 - 7, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 & 28: Viharas or monasteries

Unfinished Caves: 2, 3, 5, 8, 23-25.




These caves are in the forest area and were hidden and covered by the monks when they left this place. They were discovered early in the 19th century quite by chance by a party of British Officers on man oeuvres.

The entry to the place is closed on Monday and on other days it is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. We shall explore some of these cave sin more details in the subsequent posts.

60 comments:

Al said...

What an incredible place, your photos are excellent.

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely shots and information.

Kim, USA said...

Are still people living here? This is an amazing site.


Kim,USA

Maple Lane said...

Hello Rajesh, These are amazing photos. So very interesting. I look forward to future posts about these caves.

Abhinav said...

Great information and photos.

Rizalenio said...

Jawdropping place. I thought it was a setting for a movie. Wow!!!

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Gosh, this is absolutely breathtaking.

joshidaniel.com said...

what a view :)

Liza said...

Beautiful shots. Have a fabulous week.

Liz @ MLC

eileeninmd said...

The caves look neat. My hubby like caving. He would enjoy going inside. Lovely photos, thanks for sharing.

R Niranjan Das said...

Beautiful caves.

http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2012/07/nh-17.html

anney said...

Wow! Lots of caves in one area that's amazing! Beautiful sculptures!

Lowell said...

Absolutely incredible! I'll bet you could spend a week going through those caves. So beautiful!

joanne said...

Incredible place....amazing what devotion and dedication can create....love the 'education' too...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It is so interesting to tour those ancient dwellings and caves...

Saru Singhal said...

WOW. Do post about it. I can't visit this place but will atleast have a look on your blog:)

edenhills said...

Amazing! These caves are beautiful, and the history they hold is just unbelievable to me. You don't find many things over a couple hundred years old around here.

Gary said...

What a great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

wonderful post and awesome photos ~~ thanks, ^_^ ( A Creative Harbor)

Andrea said...

Wow, i didn't know there is a place like that in India, much like the Anazazi ruins in the US, and those in Turkey. The place is so stable, it's good it is not in the 'ring of fire' where earthquakes are so dangerous.

Sylvia K said...

What incredible, fascinating caves, Rajesh! Terrific captures as always! Thanks, too, for the history!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Very interesting caves and shrines!

Meoww said...

A must-see place in my travel diary... Waiting...

Alice said...

Wow so many caves with so many so rich history. Love the close up view of the caves from the top.

bettyl said...

I'm sure there are wonderful things to see and learn in these caves. They are amazing to be so well preserved.

P.N. Subramanian said...

The first two photographs look like aerial ones. Very beautifully captured with equally good info.

beagleAnnie said...

Thank you for taking me a great tour. Great captures.

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Beautiful Pictures with very useful information...

Panchali said...

Rajesh,
Truly Ajanta & Ellora caves are the wonders of the world. Very nice shots---Thanks for sharing :)

Hanne Bente said...

Great pictures you show. Wishing you a good day :)

Jeevan said...

Wow! What a grand vista... and its quite remarkable! Thanks for the facts about the cave.

Interesting

Leslie: said...

I went into the caves at Orvieto, Italy, and found it fascinating. But these caves must be something else! I had no idea they existed.

Leslie
abcw team

Chris said...

Neat! Reminds me of Petra and the great Christian churches in Kenya! Very cool!

Chris H
ABC Wednesday
A is for Avogadro's Number

Tina´s PicStory said...

wonderful places you show us :)

lotusleaf said...

Great shots! I have always wanted to visit them.

Roger Owen Green said...

most AWESOME!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

So very interesting. I had never heard of these caves, and your photo's are excellent.

Carver said...

Fascinating post with wonderful photography.

reneejustturtleflight.com said...

How absolutely amazing. You take wondeful photos.

Hazel said...

Thirty caves... and the things inside them. Really fascinating.

Eden said...

Hi, Rajesh!

Beautiful photos as always. Thank you for sharing information about the place.

Gattina said...

Very interesting and beautiful ! I have never been to India (yet)
Gattina
ABC Team

ashok said...

wonderful; post with great snaps!

chubskulit said...

Wow, another awesome slice of India.

Rose, ABC Wednesday Team.

cassandrasminicorner said...

Yes, indeed I could see the horse shoe shape. Beautiful!

Visiting for MYM- hope you can stop by..

http://www.cassandrasminicorner.com/2012/07/new-beach-ball.html

Müge Tekil said...

Thank you for this very interesting post! India is a marvelous country full of beauties and mysteries. I've been in Northern India four years ago and hope to discover other regions too.

Have a great weekend!

Leora said...

This looks like a fascinating place to visit.

logic said...

I remember such things read in history :) thanks for capturing these

SandyCarlson said...

It would be amazing to go back to that time and be among the folks who thought that stuff up. Beautiful structures.

Rajesh said...

Thank you all for appreciating the masterpieces.

Tito Eric said...

Wow! That's quite remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

Visiting from MYM - http://turningboholano.blogspot.com/2012/07/magical-mind.html

Cheers!

James Corner said...

Nice blog with fantastic clicks. In fact Ajanta is amazing place to visit gives you amazing experience of ancient Buddhist culture. Painting painted over walls of this temples are master piece and very rightly described as “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting” by archaeological survey of India.

Neeraj | www.bharari.net said...

Hey, from where did you click the first photo?

Arun Prasath said...

Wow That's amazing!

Paresh Kale said...

Superb !

bnomadic said...

Beautiful description and panoramic shot.

mysay.in said...

the first two snaps are simply fabulous , Rajesh !! loved them !!

Arti said...

Breathtaking shots, I felt like I am there.

sushmitha said...

Nice captures with great info :)

Rajesh said...

Thank you all for appreciating the ancient heritage.