Rock-cut caves close to Ajanta, possessing good specimens of Indian mural paintings were discovered in 1819 by a band of British officers whereas searching a tiger.
These caves excavated in a very semi-circular scarp dominating a slender curved gorge, includes 5 chaitya-grihas and a few twenty-five viharas or monasteries. They were excavated between the second century before Christ and seventh century AD and served as sanctuaries for Buddhist monks throughout the monsoons.
The caves of Ajanta are known for his or her subject qualities, sleek class and serenity of sculptures, and particularly, the planet is known paintings that adorn their interiors.
The paintings are intensely non-secular in tone and theme and depict the lives and times of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. They additionally act as a form of lighted history of these times — court scenes, street scenes, cameos of domestic life moreover as animal and bird sanctuaries. These murals have stood the take a look at the best customary of mural paintings.
“Apart from the stunning paintings and sculptures, there were also huge Buddhist mounds like Stupas built, massive pillars intricately detailed carvings on the ceilings and walls made big news, giving the Ajanta caves the standing of a heritage website.”
Of all the ancient monuments in India, the rock-cut caves near Ajanta (Latitude 20° 32’N and Longitude 75° 45’E) have won a unique place by virtue of their having the most perfect specimens of Indian mural paintings. Their reknown has spread far and wide and is second to none in the country, except probably that of the Taj Mahal. The name, Ajanta casts a spell on the Indian mind and conjures up a vision of artistic excellence attained by the ancient painter’s brush.
Ever since the discovery of the caves in the beginning of the nineteenth century their paintings have influenced the artistic pursuits in the country. They provided the greatest inspiration in the art-revival in the first quarter of the twentieth century, as they had influenced many centuries earlier, the art tradition not only of contemporary India but also of Central Asia.
The caves are situated at a distance of 6.5 km from the village of Fardapur in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, on Maharashtra State Highway No. 8. Fardapur lies 55 km from Jalgaon, which is also the nearest railhead on the Central Railway, 420 and 1120 km from Mumbai and Delhi, respectively. The nearest airport from Fardapur is at Aurangabad, 103 km away.
Fardapur is easily approached by a motorable road from both Aurangabad and Jalgaon. There are regular bus services to the caves up to the T-Junction on the Aurangabad-Jalgaon road. The caves are located at a distance of 4 km from the T-Junction and one has to board special shuttle buses to reach the foothill of the caves. These buses are both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned and tickets have to be bought for travelling on them.
There is no halting place in Ajanta village which is about 5 km (as the crow flies) from the caves. At Fardapur there is a PWD guest-house and an Inspection Bungalow, accommodation for which can be reserved by prior application to the Collector and Executive Engineer, Aurangabad, respectively. Accommodation may also be availed at Holiday Resort at Fardapur run by MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation). Visitors intending to halt near the caves may contact the District Forest Officer, Aurangabad, to reserve accommodation in the Forest Bungalow.
The caves are open on all days (excluding Mondays) from 9 am to 5.30 pm. An entry fee of Rs 10 for Indian citizens and Rs 250 or the US $5 for foreigners is charged. Children below fifteen years of age are admitted free of charge. Tickets and publications can be purchased at the booking office. For information regarding services of guides, the Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Aurangabad Circle, may be contacted. Photographs of the monuments and paintings can be obtained on payment from:
The Director General,
Archaeological Survey of India,
New Delhi-110 011,
The Superintending Archaeologist,
Archaeological Survey of India,
Aurangabad – 431 004.
The visitor with limited time at his disposal should at least visit Caves 1, 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19 and 26.