Ajanta and Ellora are the pride of Maharashtra. The rock-cut caves of both these sites are world famous and illustrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. Ajanta dates from 100 B.C. while Ellora is younger by some 600 years. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 99 kms. From Aurangabad; a few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock, are 30 caves overlooking a gorge, `each forming a room in the hill and some with inner rooms. Al these have been carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. Here, for the Buddhist monks, the artisans excavated Chaityas (chapels) for prayer and Viharas (monasteries) where they lived and taught. Many of the caves have the most exquisite detailed carvings on the walls, pillars and entrances as well as magnificent wall paintings. CONCLUSION
In their range of time and treatments they provide a panorama of life in ancient India and are a source of all kinds of information... hair styles, ornaments, textiles, musical instruments, details of architecture, customs etc. It was from this collection of classical Indian art that a particular style was formed that traveled with Buddhism to many parts of the world. Similar paintings can be seen in Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, Bamiyan in Afghanistan, temples and shrines in Tibet, Nepal, China and Japan. Royal patronage made Ajanta possible. Professional artists carried out much of the work and each contributed his own individual skill and devotion to this monumental work. Visitors often ask how the artist who painted the detailed frescoes and chiseled out the intricate carvings, managed to work in the dark interiors of the caves. It has been noticed that the caves are illuminated by natural light for part of the day and it is presumed that metal mirrors or sheets of white cloth were used to reflect sunlight into the inner recesses.
The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon, just outside the village of Ajinṭhā (20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E). Caves are only about 59 kilometers from Jalgaon Railway station (on Delhi - Mumbai, Rail line of the Central railways, India); and 104 kilometers from Aurangabad (from Ellora Caves 100 Kilometers). They are cut into the volcanic lava of the Deccan in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri Hills and are set in beautiful sylvan surroundings. These magnificent caves containing carvings that depict the life of Buddha, and their carvings and sculptures are considered to be the beginning of classical Indian art. PG2
, India are 30 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to the 600 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of Buddhist religious art (which depict the Jataka tales) as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka. The caves were built in two phases starting around 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 600 CE. It is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The caves vary from 35ft to 110ft in height. The caves of Ajanta consist of Viharas or Monasteries and Chaitya Grihas or monument halls cut into the mountains in two phases. The monasteries are of various sizes the tallest being of 52ft. The monasteries were used by the Buddhist monks for meditating and studying Buddhist teachings. They are mostly square shaped and projects didactic, devotional, and ornamental paintings from Jataka Tales and life of Gautam Buddha, contemporary people, kings, slaves, flowers, plants, fruits, birds and beasts. There are also the figures of yakshas, kinneras (half human and half bird) gandharvas (divine musicians), apsaras (heavenly dancers) seen in several wall paintings and sculptures and also art and architecture of the 3rd AD Gupta...
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