In the early 19th century (year 1819) some British soldiers were out hunting in the Deccan plateau. One of them suddenly saw, from a height, a horseshoe rock; His curiosity aroused by the entrance of a cave. The hunting party ventured across the ravine of the Waghur River. And they discovered several caves, against which bush, shrubs earth and stones had piled up. Goatherds for shelter were using a few. The Government was informed about this finding and soon the Archaeologists began excavate them. Many experts have been restoring them during the last fifty years. The shock of discovery was worldwide.
All the rock-cut caves had paintings on verandahs, inner walls and ceilings, these revealed some of the most beautiful masterpieces of world art. In the grottos were also symbolic Buddhist mounds called Stupas, and cells for monks called viharas. There were giant sculptures of Buddha's, Bodhisattvas (potential Buddha's), or Taras (female Buddhist divinities), as also dwarapalas (doorkeepers). Later, an inscription was found of King Harisena ('moon among princes'), of the Vakataka dynasty of the 5th -6th century A.D. in cave No.17. It seems that the local Vakatakas had relations, thought marriage, with the great Gupta kings of the north.
NUMBER OF CAVES:
The total numbers of caves are 30. Most of them were finished, A few were half finished, A pathway, scooped out from stone, runs as a crescent by the caves for pedestrians. From this, one can have a glorious view of the ravine below.
For many years, expert scholars and other learned men form all over the world, have visited the Ajanta caves. Millions of pilgrims and tourists have been there. Every one wonders why the caves were scooped out on this particular horseshoe rock, in the middle of the Deccan Plateau. The great scholar, late Prof. D.D. Kosambi, suggested that all the caves in the caves in the Western Ghats, from shudhaghar, through Karla, Bhaja, Nasik, Pitalkhora, to Ajanta...
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