ajanta-caves

AJANTA CAVES

Ajanta Caves are the earliest surviving masterpiece of Buddhist heritage, culture and religious art in India. Comprising of Buddhist traditions of Theravada and Mahayana, Ajanta Caves boast some of the most precious work of Buddhist art that is carved in it. Dating back to 2nd and 1st century BC, they constitute ancient monasteries and worship halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 75-metre (246ft) wall of rock. Located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state, the site is protected monument under Archeological Survey of India. John Smith, a British officer, accidently stumbled upon them in April 1819. The style of Ajanta Caves today can be seen beyond Indian borders particularly in Java, Indonesia, which was highly influenced by Indian cultural heritage in ancient period. These 29 Buddhist cave temples became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Shaped into the face of a mountain, the caves appear like a horse-shoe around the Wangorah river. Many murals and paintings inside the cave’s walls tell a tale of Buddha’s life. Cave 1 and 2 display some of the fascinating paintings that depict Jataka Tales (Jatak Katha). The caves find mention in several accounts of Chinese Buddhist scholars who visited India, a Buddhist hub in the ancient period.