Location: Aurangabad, Maharashtra
The finest spectacles of the Indian classical art are hidden in an isolated canyon located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. A world-renowned heritage site, the Ajanta Caves are one of the oldest cave monuments in India, dating back to the 2nd Century BC. These caves were artistically excavated by the craftsmen for the Buddhist monks who prayed, lived and taught at this site. The exclusive paintings at the Ajanta caves provide a panorama of the lives of Buddha and the Jatakas, and also provide a good account of the life in ancient times.
Excavated in the shape of a horse-shoe, this site has about 30 caves which stand at a height of 76 meters above the meander of a narrow stream of the Waghora river. These caves were unknown to the world, hidden beneath the dense cover of a forest, until a British officer rediscovered them accidentally in the year 1819. The Ajanta caves were embellished with exquisite paintings of infinite beauty and charm. These paintings were executed as dry frescoes on plaster surface, with intricate detailing. The caves are believed to have been carved out at two different periods, with a gap of several centuries.
The fact that the Ajanta caves were inhabited by Buddhist monks for several years places them on a high pedestal in the eyes of the Buddhists. These caves are not only religiously important, but are also famous all over the world for the unique art and architectural techniques used at this site. It is truly amazing to see the special provisions made for natural light to get into the dark rooms of the caves. Each and everything at the Ajanta caves speaks greatly about the calibre of the artisans of that era. If you haven’t had the chance to see this architectural marvel as yet, pack your bags now!
Timings: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entry fee: Rs.10 (Indians); Rs.250 (Foreigners)