The Ajanta caves had been forgotten until 1819 A.D. A small group of British offibers cut huntings' in the hills (1819) north of Aurangabad caves across some caves. It was a.speetacular setting. A horse shoe shaped cliff over looking a steep gorgealong which a mountain torrent lumbled in a series of cascades. Around the hills, were thick forests.
If the facade was awe-inspiring exloration of the interiors of the caves, many of which clogged with debris was mindboggling.
For the party had stumbled on a piece of aret created over, 2000 years ago and which, as was determined later, had fallen in to disuse many centuries ago. But it was not until 1845 A.D that James Fergusson drew scholary attention to the uniqueness of the site in his illustrations of the Rock-cut Temples. Ideally one should approach Ajanta's are and architecture chronologically. That was the accidental discovery of Ajanta Caves.
Ajanta caves date back to 200 B.C. to 650 A.D. There are 30 caves 5 of them are the chaityes or places of worship i.e. Buddh cathedrals while the rest are viharas or monsteries, i.e. resting houses for the Buddhist Bhikshur. The caves of Ajanta are unique in that they combine three forms of art architecture, sculpure and painting. The scens depicted in the murals are taken from the jakalas the previous in car nation of Buddha. The outer walls have beauti ful sculpture. The setting of the caves, their work manship and the
artistic attainment are all exceptional. Though, in later centuries the caves and their inhabitants suf fered persecution under muselim rulers, much has survived of their original glory.
Cave 1: Consisting of a verandah a hall groups of calls and a sanctuary, it is one of the finesh monasteries at Ajanta, the picture reveals, Jataks stories. Then there are seevnes of the birth of Nagaraja the king of Elephants with a crowd and a lady seated in a charriot on the wall near the scantum is the world famous posture of PADMAPANI. This famous polrait of Buddha is comparable to the famous Italian renaissance period painting.
Cave 2 : This monastery on the left are stories showing the swan Birth Buddha's mother telling her dream to her king the birth of Buddha and Buddha's parents fondling him.
Cave 3 : A modern height of steps brings the visitor to this incomplete monastery.
Cave 4 : This is the largest monaster at Ajanta having 28 pillers on the door are the usuar door keepers and couples are shown making love.
Cave 5 : Hew at a lower level this monastery was also left unfinished.
Cave 6 : This is a double storeyed monastery. The varandah of the lover dory has entirely disappeared. There
a figure of Buddha in the I'ddmasana Mudra. This cave has oily one painted record on the left wall of the upper hall.
Cave 7 : The plan of this monastery differs from that of the other monasiories in its not having a hall but two •.mall porticos.
Cave 8 : The monastery have nothmg in it. So the tourist department has installed a power house in it. gave 9 : This monastery have lemple with twenty three pillars. It is over of the dldest caves dates back second and first centuries B.C.
Cave 10 : This is the earliest chaitya griha and most probably the earliest excavation at Ajanta. It is a Mahayana (or Heenayana) Temple with about 30 pillars. There is also a stupa it has got an inscription in pall language of Brahmi Script. It has been assigned to the middle of the 2nd century B.0
Cave 11 : The monastery with an image of Buddha in teaching attitude carved against an unfinished stupa is also som what unfinished.
Cave 12 : This monastery is one of the earliest. It not the earliest at Ajanta.
Cave 13 : This monastery is one of the earlier complex. But their tacades have fallen.
Cave 14 : It is reached through an incomplete cave by an ancient stair case.
Cave 15 : The pillar of the verandah of this monastery have fallen leaving only the moulded plinth.
Cave 16 : This is one of the most beautiful monasteries a Ajanta, combining the gance and architectural vigour. The inscritectural records the dedication of the magnificent develling excavated in the hill, for the use of the best of asceties by varaha-deva the minister of the vakataka king Harishena 475-500 A.D.
Cave 17 : The monastery with many Jatak Stories and events from the life of Buddha are depicted in this cave. The assembly hall is beautiful in the scantum there is a Buddha figur.
Cave 18 : This is mostly Collapsed. Cave 19 : This is magnificent chaitya hall, with a ribbed horse shoe shappd window over aproch intricately carved with scroll work and Buddha figures, on the left is Nagaraja with his wife.
Cave 20 : This Small monastery presents a new feature in its an techamber advancing into the hall. Cave 21 : The pillars of the verandah of this monastery have perished the pilasters have a half and a full lotus made Mons with makaras of the centre.
Cave 22 : The small monastery remained unfinished there is a very good painting on the right side wall. Cave 23 : This monastery were left in complete, but the ornamental designs on the pillars display the skill of the artists.
Cave 24 : This monastery is completed would have been one of the grandest monasteries best of all caves.
Cave 25 : This small unfinished monastery.
Cave 26 : This is the fourth chaitya hall and has several figures of Buddha around the stupa. In this cave too scenes depicting the life of Buddha are carved on the left side wall. In the first scene a huge Buddha figure in Mahaparinirvana prsture is show. In the second picture Mara's assult is illustrated. In series of panels, Buddha is seated under a Bodhi tree, Mara approching Buddha with his devon foress, Mara retreating with amorous and sensual games. The dejected Mara.
CAVE 27 : The cave can not properly be called an Independent monasrery the unfinished upper storey has suffered grastly by land slide.
CAVE 28 & 29 : These two remaing caves the one beyond cave 27 is an unfinished monastery of which only the pillared verandah was excavated.
Open from 09 hours to 17 hours (except Mondays).
Open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Closed on Monday
Entrance Fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.
Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head (children up to 15 years free)
|Indian fees||Rs. 10 for Indians (Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries )|
|Foreign Tourists Fee||Rs. 250 for foreign tourists|
|Visit Duration||2 to 3 hours|