Ajanta Caves - 30 caves that reveal a great deal about the Buddhist past of the country. That's Ajanta Caves for you. Explore them this vacation.

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Ajanta Caves

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Maharashtra Cities
- Aurangabad
- Mumbai
Location - Aurangabad

Best Time To Visit - Throughout the year

The ancient rock cut caves of Ajanta are located at about 104 km from Aurangabad. The caves belong to the period of 2nd century BC to 6th century AD. The religion of Buddhism existed that time, so the caves of Ajanta are of Buddhist heritage. But with time when the religion of Buddhism began to decline, the caves of Ajanta got buried under the debris in the jungle till 1819, when a British cavalry officer, John Smith rediscovered them.

On rediscovering the officer found out a series of carved dramatic caves. There are around 30 caves , some of which are unfinished. Of the Ajanta caves, five are chaityas or prayer halls and the rest are viharas or monasteries. Art & Architecture
Ajanta CavesThe caves of Ajanta are separated from each other by a good four hundred years. The caves of Ajanta belong to two schools of Buddhist thoughts -Hinayana and Mahayana. Hinayana is the older schools, where Buddha was represented only in symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or a throne. The Mahayana is however the new school which did not shy away from giving the Lord a human form.

Hinayana - The caves numbered 9, 10 ( both chaityas) 8, 12, 13 and 15 ( all viharas)are the prominent Hinayana caves. The sculpted figures in these caves are dressed and coiffed in a manner, very much similar to that of the stupas at Sanchi and Barhut. This shows that the Hinayana caves belong to the first and second century BC.

Mahayana - The Mahayana monasteries include1, 2, 16 and 17, while the chityas are in caves 19 and 26. Cave 16 is the largest cave at Ajanta. Whereas Cave 17 houses the finest and largest number of murals. The caves are not numbered in a chronological form. The sculptures and paintings in the caves presents in detail the life of Buddha as well as the lives of Buddha in his previous births. Various scenes from the history like court scenes, street scenes, cameos of domestic life and even animal and birds studies can be found on the walls.

Feather to the cap
The 1983, turned to be a golden year for Ajanta as during this year it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People in large number visit this place every year.

Flash photography is strictly forbidden in the caves. The caves are maintained by applying chemical treatment on the rocks for longer life.

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