Ajantha Rock Cut Caves, Beautiful Buddhist Monastery, UPSC Details


Ajantha
Image from Tusktravel

Ajantha Caves History | Ajantha Caves Rock Cut Monuments | Ajantha Caves History | Ajantha Cave Paintings | Ajantha Caves UNESCO | Ajantha Caves UPSC | Ajantha Caves Architecture

Ajantha Caves are the Rock Cut Monuments related to Buddhism which dates almost 2000-2500 years back. These Rocks are present in the Aurangabad District of Maharashtra. There are almost about 32 Rock Cut Caves and all those monuments are spectacular. The Paintings, Interiors of the Hall, and exteriors are still Mysterious, Scientists still couldn’t decode how had they constructed such mammoth and Toughest Sculptures Long back 2500 years ago. Rock Bending Domes are Worth a Visit

History

Ajantha Caves are Buddhist Religious Art Caves, There are 32 Rock cut caves, All are located in series on the banks of the Waghora River. The Beauty of Ancient Indian Architecture is that they use to Cut Part of the Rock and the Craftsmen would sculpture it as described by the Engineer. The Technology of Cutting the Rocks is still mysterious and the history of Buddhism dates back to 576 BC with the enlightenment Phase of Gauthama Buddha, Later after the Demise of Buddha, The Religious Scholars decided to Spread the word of peace to the world, In an attempt to that, They decided to build temples by carving out of rocks and sculpturing the Buddhist Idols. As a part of that, they reached the Deccan plateau and the Significance of the Rock is that it is Black Basalt Rock formed almost by the Volcanic reactions of Volcano million years ago, Also Limestone and some other Rocks are found here, If They Sculpture this rock it shines even in the night.

Many Chinese Travelers who were influenced by Buddism also have mentioned Ajantha Caves in Various Texts.

Also, this is on the banks of the river of Woghra. There are 32 Sites including Halls, Temples, Caves, and other Monuments. The Interior Dome and the miniature carvings are the real beauty of Ajantha Caves.

Architecture of Ajantha

Ajantha Caves are 75 meters of Different Worship Halls and Monasteries Carved by Sculptors completely on the stretch of Rocks. There are paintings and Sculptures which illustrate the Forms of Life and Rebirth Stages of Gauthama Budhha. The Rock available in this area was Basalt Rock, It has a Shiny Texture.

Buddhist Stupas are Massively carved in all 32 Caves.

These Caves are built-in Two Stages

The First Stage was in 2 Century BC and the second stage was in 400-650 AD.

Discovery

The Ajantha Caves Survived demolition by Other religions, The Main reason for Surviving was it was Completely Covered by Forests, This made many invaders just ignore this place and go to a place where Land is Clearly Visible. Ajantha Caves are Accidentally discovered by British Officer John Smith who was going to Hunt Tigers, Suddenly he fell into a deep rock covered by lush green leaves and there he discovered Ajantha Caves, Later he ordered all the officers and excavations started from there, He wrote his name on one of the rocks after the discovery.

Date of Construction of Ajantha Caves

There have been Lot of Confusion to track the Date of construction of Ajantha Caves, The Locals Claim that it was built 4000 Years ago, But the Archeological Survey has a different story, They Took the samples of Carved rock and applied carbon dating to it to decide the timeline of the construction.

The 1st Phase of Construction was in 2 Bc and the 2nd Phase was between 400-650 AD

Also, up to 16 Caves were built during Satavahana Period and the Second Half was built during Vakataka Dynasty.

Exact Dates are still not Found out because other kingdom influences have been found out and the confusion still prevails.

But few enthusiasts and Archeology Scientists have predicted few Timelines like The First Caves are built during 100BC to 100AD by Satavahanas (230BC to 200AD). Later it also has Mauryan Influence and those dates are between(300BC to 100BC).

The Second Half of Caves were built from 460AD to 480 AD according to Walter Spink.

The caves of the First half are 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 A.

Caves of the Second half are 1–8, 11, 14–29.

Tourism

Almost 3-4 Million Visitors all over the world Visit Ajantha Caves Every Year, Due to Covid everything came to Pause. Buddhists from many parts of the world definitely will visit this place to experience the Grandeur of Rock Cut Caves and to Spread the word of Peace.

Climate Effect on Ajantha Caves

Due to Pollution Levels of the World today and the impact of Climate change has been minimal to Ajantha Caves, Because these are Rock Cut Caves and only a few places have few deteriorations because of Summer heat and rain effects, But not of Global warming, Of Course over the period of time, The Clor of Paintings started deteriorating because of other various effects directly or indirectly on the Caves.

Best Season to Visit Ajantha

India has a very dry Climate and regions like Maharashtra have high winds, So during Summer you can visit all the places but the effect of dust will be high, So it is better to visit between Monsoon and Winter, September to January.

Unesco WHS

Image from britannica

Unesco declared the Group of Monuments in Ajantha Caves as a World Heritage Site and the Status was given in 1983 along with Agra Fort and Taj Mahal. This is given the status because of Hindu Buddhist Architecture and the Spectacular Craftsmanship on Rocks which is very Unique.

Near By Places

The most Famous places are nearby Ajantha Caves, There are also Caves dedicated to Jainism like Ellora Caves. It is just 6 km from Ajantha Caves. Other Places are Elephanta Caves, Aurangabad Caves, and Shivleni Caves.

Travel Route

Jalgaon Airport is the Closest airport to Ajantha Caves it is just 50kms away from Ajantha Caves. This Airport is well connected to Many Places in India. Most of the flights are from Mumbai, Surat, Delhi, and Jaipur.

Mumbai is 414 Km Away and Surat is 320 Km away from Jalgaon. International tourists must reach either Mumbai or Surat First and then travel to Jalgaon Either Flight or Bus.

The nearest Railway Station is Jalgaon Railway Station.

The ticket Cost will be 600 per head.

Direct Buses are Available to Ajantha, Aurangabad District. The ticket Cost will be around 900 per head.

Prices to Visit

  • 45 For Indians
  • 600 For Foreign Tourists
  • 25 rs for Camera
  • Timings 9 AM TO 5 PM
  • Monday Closed
  • Book Tickets Online
yatra
Booking.com