Monday, July 30, 2012

Cave No. 1, Ajanta

This is the first cave that we come across in Ajanta on the Eastern side of horse shoe shaped structure. This cave was built sometime in the 6th -7th centuries. This is one of the finest monastery of its kind and no other monastery here has so handsomely ornamented. It comprises of a open verandah, a hypostylar hall, a sanctum with an antechamber and group of cells.

This cave has very decorative facade and in the front portico the richly carved six pillars. These six columns have square bases and at the top there are 4 dwarfs at each corner with elaborately decorated bracket-capitals. At the top on the pillars, the central compartment is adorned with Buddha with monks and the projecting ends have figures of flying couples with garlands and flowers in their hands.

Besides the pillars, the verandah has two ornate carved friezes above them. The lower frieze is decorated with a variety of carvings like of which elephants and buffalo-fights are interesting. There are also horses on this panel. There are cells on either end of the varanandh. Outside the verandah on either side are raised pillared porch. Access to the hall is provided by three doors, the central one is richly carved with bands floral motifs.



Inside the cave the ceiling of the hall is supported by exquisitely decorated more than 10 pillars that are arranged in a arranged in a square. The central panels of the bracket-capitals on each of these pillars contain various carvings depicting scenes from the life of Buddha, worship of the stupa, figures including animals.One of the panels has four deers that has only one head. All the four deer seem distinct, even though they share one head in common. The craftsmanship is so efficient that it looks consistent and realistic.



Right opposite to entrance door of the hall on the other end is a small pillared antechamber leading to the sanctum. In the sanctum is a colossal image of Buddha seated in the vajra-paryankasana posture in preaching attitude. On his either side are standing attendants with chamara (fan). The Naga guardians at the base are stylistically related to the larger guardians in cave 20.
Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 40 feet long and 20 feet high. Every inch of this walls were originally painted, the pillars and the sculptures being no exception. Unfortunately, much of the paintings have peeled off, but from those surviving patches one can easily imagine its pristine grandeur. The cave contains some of the rare masterpieces of paintings such as Padmapani and Vajrapani. (we will see them soon other posts).

They have been painted in such a way that it is visible even though light inside is very poor. The painting is done using vegetable color.

53 comments:

Vee said...

They have certainly lasted a very long time and the colors are quite exceptional.

Ranjana's craft blog said...

Very nice...Even I wish to visit this place...

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Wow! I missed an opportunity to visit Ajanta once. Hope I visit there soon. The paintings are way too good...
Bhushavali's Lesser Known India

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Marvelous pictures. Loved the detail.

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Amazing paintings and sculpture! Yet to visit Ajantha!

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Beautiful shots...

Lowell said...

I wouldn't have thought "cave" just looking at your first picture. But what a place. The facade is amazing and the interior is gorgeous. Hard to believe it is so old!

Mama Zen said...

Amazing pictures!

R Niranjan Das said...

Nice description and images.

www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

Panchali said...

Excellent,the descriptions given along with pictures are very very useful and interesting.pl keep up, Rajesh!
Awesome clicks..

Ruby said...

I have always wanted to see the Ajanta and Ellora paintings. The color technique is unique and made to last forever. Splendid pictures you have here. Thanks for sharing. I hope the govt maintains this marvellous architectural wonder atleast well. Cheers, Ruby

Liza said...

Amazing art!

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P.N. Subramanian said...

Beautiful!. Ajanta still eludes me. Similar to the deer you have mentioned, in some South Indian temples I came across an Elephant and a Bull sharing a common head. From one side you find an Elephant and from the left you find a bull. Th heads complement as some other body part.

Carver said...

What an interesting an beautiful place.

Sylvia K said...

Another fascinating look at your world, Rajesh! Such an ornate and incredible monastery! Superb captures as always!

Gary said...

Beautiful Post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Amazing pictures and wonderful monuments!!!

Randi said...

These shots are stunning! I wish I could visit this special place.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

These pictures are incredible. The cave art in your world is a lot more advanced than the cave art in this country!

Fun60 said...

So much detail in the carvings. Thank-you for sharing.

Meoww said...

Another one of the greatest monument in India that i am yearning to see. Beautiful sculpture of the four deers with a single head!

ladyfi said...

What a fascinating ancient cave.

Leovi said...

Delicious photos, definitely a great temple in this cave, magnificent. Greetings.

lorik said...

I love this place. I visited the Ajanta Caves in 1977 - yes , a long time ago - and it is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I have enjoyed looking at your series of photos. You might like to share some of your work on my Mandarin Orange Monday :)

Zuzana said...

Absolutely amazing, I love the see temples/monasteries carved into a rock, we do not have anything like that in Europe. Would have loved to have seen this. My husband have seen Petra and said it was amazing, this structure reminds me a bit of it.;)
xoxo

Alice said...

The history of the caves are priceless. Very beautiful craftings indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Katrin Klink said...

Beautiful pictures, they capture the spirit of this magical place. I'll leave with acute wanderlust ...

J.Rye said...

Beautiful details. Visiting from Ruby Tuesday.

Al said...

What an incredible cave, it looks like a very popular place to visit.

Roger Owen Green said...

lovely interiors
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Roy Schulze said...

My ancestors were content just to slap some mud on the walls of their caves and call it a day. Yours were a tad more ambitious! My story this week is called Culmen ’79.

George said...

This is an exquisite cave with much detail. Your photos are excellent.

Jeevan said...

Very interesting observation and narrative! Excellent capture on the wall paintings and you are right about its expose even in dim light.

Joy said...

I like the first photo with the contrast between the rock and carvings. Fascinating place, I cannot imagine how long it must have taken to create all this.

Tito Eric said...

Splendid captures of some of your country's great works! Kudos for their restoration and maintenance efforts. Love 'em all.

Cheers from Bohol, Philippines. Visiting from Our World Tuesday.

http://turningboholano.blogspot.com/2012/08/weather-report-howling-winds-at-panglao.html

Hazel said...

Caves gives one a feeling of mystery. An interesting experience to explore a cave.

cassandrasminicorner said...

Saw a coup,e of persons wearing RED, cool!

Visiting from Ruby Tuesday 2- hope you can stop by..

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joshidaniel.com said...

the painting looks really cool :)

Une Angevine said...

mais c'estb d'une beauté ces peintures et ces colonnes sculptées aussi

Black Jack's Carol said...

The four deer united with one head was especially interesting, and I love the faint green hue in the 3rd and 5th photos.

chubskulit said...

Simply beautiful!

A late visit from Ruby Tuesday. Your comment is always appreciated!

Kay L. Davies said...

I could spend the rest of my life in India and never see half, or a quarter, of the beauties you give us on your blog. Thanks, Rajesh.
K

Lindy MacDuff said...

So very ornate! Thank you for sharing these wonderful images and especially the information.

My THURSDAY CHALLENGE.

Kati said...

what a wonderful place. Never even heard of it but thanks to you now I have! Thanks for sharing!

Jidhu Jose said...

great shots
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Ranita Sinha said...

beautiful pics with wonderful narration..

ashok said...

lovely series of snaps

Sridharan said...

Beautiful... Hope to visit this place one day..

magiceye said...

Amazing!!

Sangeeta said...

So well illustrated photo post that i enjoyed the place vicariously!

रजनीश के झा (Rajneesh K Jha) said...

प्रभावी !!!
शुभकामना
आर्यावर्त

mysay.in said...

amazed to see the work of the past .. wonderful

Aparna Anurag said...

spectacular !!
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