- At Ajanta in the Aurangabad District of Maha-rashtra are some of the most famous ancient caves of India. Here are preserved some of India’s most beautiful ancient painting and sculpturing. The caves date from the second century B.C.E. to seventh century C.E. There are 29 caves at Ajanta, which are carved into solid stone halfway up a large hill that curves gently away, to the left of the visitor. In the middle of the steep incline is a walk-way, which appears made on a natural cliff.All of the caves at Ajanta were done by the Buddhists. Some were clearly used as monastic dwellings, and others were chaityas or shrine rooms. Some of the caves have beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the Buddhist Jatakas (tales of the life of the BUDDHA). The frescoes of Ajanta show a development of nearly 1,000 years of fresco art. Other caves have impressive figures of the Buddha in high relief.Further reading: Benoy K. Behl, The Ajanta Caves: Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2004); Guide to the Ajanta Paintings (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1999–2003); Swati Mitra, ed., From Ajanta to Ellora: Travel Guide (New Delhi: Eicher Goodearth Ltd., 2005); Lachu Moorjani, Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005); Walter Spink, Ajanta to Ellora (Bombay: Marg Publications, 1967).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.