THE AJANTA AND ELLORA CAVES
- The Ajanta Caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE located in the Maharashtra state of India.
- The caves include paintings and rock-cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present emotions through gesture, pose and form.
- The caves were built in two phases, the first phase starting around the 2nd century BCE, while the second phase was built around 400–650 CE.
- Since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Maharashtra State of India.
- It is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monuments, and artwork, dating from the 600-1000 CE period.
- Cave 16, in particular, features the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world, the Kailasha temple, a chariot shaped monument dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- There are over 100 caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs in the Charanandri Hills, 34 of which are open to public. These consist of 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves, each group representing deities and mythologies prevalent in the 1st millennium CE, as well as monasteries of each respective religion.
My visit to the Ajanta and Ellora caves was an eye-opener into the ancient heritage of India. The intricate carvings and magical paintings showcase the skill and the degree of craftsmanship needed to create such a masterpiece. I felt that this is seen in The Kailash Temple in the Ellora Caves, which is a monolithic structure built entirely from a single rock and the Wall paintings of The Ajanta Caves, which are so realistic and detailed you feel the figures emerge from the wall. The Ajanta and Ellora Caves truly are a unique artistic creation and a pride of bharath, which every person has to experience in their life.
About the Author
Sriram is a Class – 9 student from Chrysalis High School, Horamavu, Bangalore. Sriram is a passionate traveller and photographer.