Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves
Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves is an extraordinary work of art that mixes architecture, sculpture and painting. And it is also religious art as it is a Buddhist complex, but it is also rock art since we are talking about a series of underground spaces made up of some 30 caves in which artistic work began approximately in the 2nd century BC. Although the achievements that are preserved today were created in later times.


Inside Ajanta Caves

The discovery by a soldier of the British East India Company was almost accidental. That colonial entity was in the Maharashtra region, and this soldier named John Smith was mapping the area. So on his walks he saw some carved stones in the undergrowth. And after clearing all that area of ​​vegetation they had before them a large rock wall in which the entrance to the Ajanta Caves can be seen. The year was 1819.

There is an impressive artistic ensemble. To begin with, because it is located in a vein of bas alt stone of volcanic origin of tremendous hardness. And yet numerous reliefs, columns and statues were carved on that material. All of this was carried out between the 2nd century before Christ and the 5th and 6th centuries of Our Era.

All this repertoire is Buddhist-themed, since a huge cycle offresco paintings with the life of Buddha. And the extraordinary thing is that plant and animal pigments and clay paste were used, which have been preserved for centuries thanks to the fact that the place is very dark, and of course because at one point it was abandoned. In this way we are facing the oldest frescoes of India, in which you can also see the aesthetic evolution that occurred in the past.

However, in addition to the artistic wonder it represents and for which they are declared World Heritage by UNESCO, they also hide many mysteries. For example, what reason led the Buddhist monks to start such a work. And not only that, once the whole complex was built, why would it be abandoned? Although for this last question it may be necessary to assess that in this area of ​​central India, there came a time when Hinduism gained a lot of strength.

In fact, in the neighboring Ellora Caves, there is also a fascinating excavated complex, but in this case the figures related to three religions converge: Buddhism, Hinduism andJainism.

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