Welcome to era of 2nd BCE Century to 480 CE. Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district inherits beautiful 30 rock cut Buddhist monuments. Take a ride to the caves which will speak about the past life’s of Buddha, everyday life of Lord Buddha, reign of the kingdom, gestures, posses, emotions and many more. The caves were built in two phases – first one in the 2nd Century and the second one in 400-650 CE. According to Walter M Spink, the second phase was built in 460-480 CE. The site is now under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India. This archaeological cave was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
AJANTA CAVES – “LOST & FOUND”
Early in 1891, a colonial British officer was on his way to the tiger hunting party, where he accidentally found this caves, covered by the jungle. He had accidentally entered the cave number 10 and was astonished to find the carving and painting. Immediately, he called the nearby villagers with axes and hunting tools to clear the forest which had covered the caves. The caves were then came into picture grabbing a lot of attention of the colonial people. It had then become a famous tourist destination specially in the monsoon, being located on a rocky cliff of a U-shaped valley, surrounded by river Waghur.
I started my trip from Bhusawal, a small city located in the districts of Jalgaon, Maharashtra. We took a private cab for the trip to Ajanta Caves. Being 83 km from Bhusawal, it took around 2 hours to reach the caves. Upon reaching, one needs to take the government bus which will escort to the actual caves. As the caves were built on the hills, you will have climb up as well as down while visiting them.
There are a total of 700 steps, making it a little awkward for aged people, or people suffering from knee or leg problem. But they can always opt for “doli” or Palanquin. Each stair are quite heighten, hence, one can easily get exhausted while climbing; in addition, few are risky too. The best time to visit the caves is in Monsoons, as one can witness many small waterfalls on the caves and hills or you can also visit them in the winters.
Ajanta caves depict the ancient monasteries, the Buddhist traditions, theirs worships etc everything carved on a 250 feet wall of a rock. If you take a help of a guide, he will explain and show you the carvings as well the paintings of various things like past life of Lord Buddha, rebirth of Lord Buddha, tales of Aryasura’s Jatakamala etc. Cave number 1, 2, 16 and 17 are the most important caves and consist of the largest collection of ancient Indian wall-painting. The mural painting on the walls and the ceiling are worth watching, each depicting and seems to be saying loud stories of the ancient times.
One can see the magnificent work done on the walls as well as ceilings by the artist of the ancient period. The mural paintings have survived from both the period of 2nd Century BCE and 460-480 CE. The four caves built on the later period have well preserved mural painting. They represent the epic time of Gupta and of the ancient India. The painting are “Frescos” which means a color painting done on wet plaster either on wall or ceiling. Hence, colors get merged in the wet plaster. Once the wall or ceiling gets dry, the painting becomes a part of wall or ceiling hence which has last longing effect.
For instance cave 1 depicts the tales of Jataka stories which is the previous life of Lord Buddha. The story tells about Buddha being a King, and how he denies to live the royal life. Also the other caves have beautiful sculptures, excavated from the rock to pillars, elephants, gateways, roofs, idols etc. The best way to understand the architecture is by taking help of a Guide with a guidebook; this will help you to learn each cave in depth. Without a guide or a guidebook, you will find most of the caves alike.
Try to promote this ancient mural painting, sculptures and carving by visiting this amazing place in Aurangabad, Maharashtra-India. The entry or the exit point both being the same has a beautiful shopping market. You can buy, statue of Lord Buddha, Laughing Buddha, natural stones, jewelleries made out of stones, hand-made hats, purses etc. Also you can find in a restaurant near the ticket counter. You need at least 5-6 hours to enjoy the caves. Promote the “Maharashtra-Unlimited” of the Incredible India.