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Inside Ajanta caves | by Jorge Lascar
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Inside Ajanta caves

Ajanta is a renowned name in the world of architecture.Amidst a picturesque landscape of Deccan basalt,101 km north of Aurangabad in Maharashtra,there occurs a small hamlet-Ajanta.It has 30 Buddhist rock-cut caves,unique sculptures,carvings and mural paintings. The Ajanta caves possess an invaluable treasure of Indian art which imbibes inspiration in the art-loving people of all generations.The facades of the Chaitya halls show intense ornamentation and carvings.Rocks were hewn out to make figures of classic qualities.The entire course of the evolution of Buddhist architecture can be traced in Ajanta.During this time,images of Buddha on his different life stories and several types of human and animal figures were carved out of in-situ rock.All sections of people of the contemporary society from kings to slaves,woman,man and children are seen in the Ajanta murals interwoven with flowers,plants,fruits,birds and beasts.There are also the figures of Yakshas,Kinnas(half human and half bird),Gandharvas(divine musicians),Apsaras(heavenly dancers)which were of concern to the people of that time.One thousand years of neglect,and exposure to the hostile elements of nature have damaged many of the beautiful works of the past but those which have survived in caves 1,2,16 and 17 can be ranked high among the greatest artistic works of the contemporary world. The Ajanta caves are excavated in a semicircular scarp of 75 m height overlooking a meandering stream,Waghora that descends as a steep ravine with seven leaps.The caves have a horse-shoe pattern of arrangement covering a stretch of 550 m.Their floor levels are not uniform and they have got no symmetry in their subsurface distribution probably due to their excavation in different times.The individual caves were earlier isolated but are now connected by steps [www.softronindia.com]

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Taken on April 26, 2007