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The Ajanta caves are one of the greatest monuments of India and also a World Heritage Site.
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Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves, in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, are one of the World Heritage Sites in India. The Ajanta Caves consist of 30 Caves, dating back from 200 BC to 250 AD. The Ajanta Caves were hewn out from rocks. It is interesting to note that the World Heritage Site of Ajanta was lost to human beings and it was in the year 1819, when a party of British officers rediscovered the Ajanta Caves. These Caves at Ajanta have a unique combination of architecture, sculpture and paintings. Two basic types of monastic Buddhist architecture are found at Ajanta, the Chaitya or prayer hall and the Vihara or monastery.

The paintings at Ajanta are truly world heritage and speak volumes about the advancement and skills of the Ajanta artists. Some of the finest sculptures and paintings of Ajanta Caves are 'Bodhisattva Padmapani', 'Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara', '17 Jatakas', 'the Birth of the Buddha' and 'the Thousand Buddhas' and are amongst the best murals and sculptures ever found. The paintings on the ceiling, particularly the elephant scattering the lotus, charging bull, the black princess and the row of dancers with musicians captivate visitors from all over the world.

These Ajanta caves show a well defined form of architecture, developed broadly in two phases, with a time gap of about 4 Centuries. These two phases were the Hinayana and the Mahayana Phase. In the Hinayana Phase are included two Chaitya Halls (Cave No. 9 and 10) and 4 Viharas (Cave 8, 12, 13 and 15A). In the Mahayana Phase are included 3 Chaityas (Cave 19 and 26 and 29 being incomplete) and 11 wonderful Viharas (Cave 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 15, 17 and 20 to 24).

The Ajanta sculptures of the Mahayana Phase depict formal religious images. On the other hand the Hinayana monuments of Ajanta are virtually devoid of carvings. Cave l is one of the finest monasteries and the interior paintings here, are among the greatest at the Ajanta Caves.

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Ajanta Caves | Ellora Caves | Ganpatipule | Mumbai | Nashik | Pune | Ratnagiri | Sindhudurg