Ajanta caves were discovered by an Army Officer in the Madras Regiment of the British Army in 1819 during one of his hunting expeditions. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 104 km. From Aurangabad a few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock 30 caves overlooking a gorge. Each forming a room in the hill carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer. as well as a chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. The tourist destination attracts around 3.30 lakh visitors annually. out of these, at least 10% are foreigners mainly from Buddhist-influenced countries like Japan, Korea, and China.
Ajanta Caves Architecture and sculpture
The Ajanta site comprises thirty caves cut into the side of a cliff which rises above a meander in the Waghora River. The caves have connected road which runs along a terrace mid-way up the cliff. but each cave was once linked by a stairway to the edge of the water. The first phase of the construction was building the sanctuaries, known as the Chaitya-grihas, in the canyons of the Waghora River. This phase of construction of the caves 9, 10, 12 and 15A was probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty.
The second period of the construction was during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. In that period simultaneously 20 cave temple created. Most of which were Viharas or monasteries with a sanctuary in the structure’s rear center. After the end of Harisena’s rule. The caves were abandoned and in the intervening centuries. they were completely forgotten and overrun by forests.
Ajanta Caves Painting
The paintings have executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique. The paintings on the walls, illustrate the events in the life of Prince Gautama Buddha. The founder of Buddhism and in the more popular Jatakas stories pertaining to Buddha’s previous incarnation. Incidentally, they contain the scenes of semi-mythological history. The royal court and popular life of the ancient times. As told in romances and plays, Majority of pictures belongs to a phase, which is purely Indian and Some pictures recall the Greek and Roman compositions and proportions, few late resemble Chinese manners to some extent.
The main aim behind the construction of the Ajanta Caves was to provide a dwelling and praying place for the Buddhist monks. whoes dedicated for the spreading the principles of Buddhism throughout the world. All of them have been carved with precision and adorned with exquisite architectural details. The sculptures seen here seem to be the result of superb craftsmanship.
Ajanta Caves Timing and Entry Fees
The caves remain open on all days except Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries – Rs. 10 per head.
SAARC Countries-Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan.
BIMSTEC Countries – Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.
Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head (children up to 15 years free)
The best season to visit Ajanta and Ellora is from October to March.