26 Facts About Ajanta Caves


Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments dating from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state in India.

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Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 75-metre wall of rock.

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Ajanta Caves are mentioned in the memoirs of several medieval-era Chinese Buddhist travellers to India and by a Mughal-era official of Akbar era in the early 17th century.

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The Ajanta style is found in the Ellora Caves and other sites such as the Elephanta Caves, Aurangabad Caves, Shivleni Caves and the cave temples of Karnataka.

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Ajanta Caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct phases, the first during the 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE, and a second several centuries later.

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Ajanta Caves consist of 36 identifiable foundations, some of them discovered after the original numbering of the caves from 1 through 29.

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The Ajanta caves are mentioned in the 17th-century text Ain-i-Akbari by Abu al-Fazl, as twenty four rock-cut cave temples each with remarkable idols.

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Since 1983, Ajanta caves have been listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India.

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Ajanta Caves are carved out of flood basalt rock of a cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous geological period.

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The oldest worship halls at Ajanta Caves were built in the 2nd to 1st century BCE, the newest ones in the late 5th century CE, and the architecture of both resembles the architecture of a Christian church, but without the crossing or chapel chevette.

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The Ajanta Caves follow the Cathedral-style architecture found in still older rock-cut cave carvings of ancient India, such as the Lomas Rishi Cave of the Ajivikas near Gaya in Bihar dated to the 3rd century BCE.

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The Ajanta Caves frescos are classical paintings and the work of confident artists, without cliches, rich and full.

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Ajanta Caves believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries".

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Ajanta Caves were built in a period when both the Buddha and the Hindu gods were simultaneously revered in Indian culture.

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Ajanta Caves's is a Buddhist deity who originally was the demoness of smallpox and a child eater, who the Buddha converted into a guardian goddess of fertility, easy child birth and one who protects babies.

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Ajanta Caves was, states Spink, probably someone who revered both the Buddha and the Hindu gods, as he proclaims his Hindu heritage in an inscription in the nearby Ghatotkacha Cave.

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Ajanta Caves made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

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Ajanta Caves had the work painted by a local artist variously named Murli or Murali.

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Ajanta Caves worked on making copies with tracings on Japanese paper from 1916 to 1918 and his work was conserved at Tokyo Imperial University until the materials perished during the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake.

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Ajanta Caves artworks provide a contrast between the spiritual life of monks who had given up all materialistic possessions versus the sensual life of those it considered materialistic, luxurious, symbols of wealth, leisurely and high fashion.

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Early colonial era description of Ajanta caves was largely orientalist and critical, inconsistent with the Victorian values and stereotyping.

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The 19th-century views and interpretations of the Ajanta Caves were conditioned by ideas and assumptions in the colonial mind, saw what they wanted to see.

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Ajanta Caves painting are a significant source of socio-economic information in ancient India, particularly in relation to the interactions of India with foreign cultures at the time most of the paintings were made, in the 5th century CE.

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Some influences from Ajanta have suggested in the Kizil Caves of the Tarim Basin, in particular in early caves such as the Peacock Cave.

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Rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta Caves provided Indian artists with examples from ancient India to follow.

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Anna Pavlova's ballet Ajanta Caves's Frescoes was inspired by her visit to Ajanta Caves, choreographed by Ivan Clustine, with music by Nikolai Tcherepnin.

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