Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra
I’m in the caves that tell the story of Buddha! Located in the state of Maharashtra, the Ajanta caves are an Indian national heritage site that are recognized as one of the world’s greatest historical monument by UNESCO. There are 29 caves in Ajanta, with most of them being monasteries!
History of the Ajanta Caves
Discovered in AD 1819, the caves in Ajanta were built sometime around the 2nd Century, out of a horseshoe-shaped cliff along the Waghora River.
Interesting Facts about the Ajanta Caves
Whoa! That’s ancient! My guide has told me such interesting facts about these caves! According to him, the caves are numbered in order from east to west. He also tells me that the caves 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 were what are called “chaitya-grihas”, meaning prayer halls. The rest of the caves were monasteries, apparently, but they’re abandoned and out of use now.
These caves are full of beautiful art, in the form of sculptures and paintings. All the paintings depict the life and times of the great Gautama Buddha, the monk prince who undertook a journey to spread the wisdom of Buddhism in the world. They also speak of the former lives of the Buddha, the various Bodhisattva’s and tales from the Jataka’s. The paintings were made using a technique called “tempera”, my well-informed guide tells me. Although the story of Buddha has many compositions, from Roman and Greek to Chinese, a majority of the story told here is from a phase that is purely Indian, and cannot be found anywhere else.
Every cave here has a story to tell, but some of the caves are simply must-see. A good guide will tell you the significance of each of these caves, and if he’s smart like my guide, he’ll take you in the reverse order, so you can also avoid the throng of visitors! Cave 1 is a so awesome that you simply cannot afford to miss it. It is said that every inch of the cave was painted, and although most of it has worn out over the years, whatever little is left gives us good idea of the grandeur of it’s past.
If you enjoy visiting historical sites then the beautiful Ajanta caves are the place for you!