provides a unique combination of architecture,
sculpture and paintings. Two basic types of monastic Buddhist architecture are
, the Chaitya or prayer hall (Cave Nos. 9,10,19,26 & 29) and Vihara or
monastery (remaining 25 Caves). These caves suggest a well defined form of
architecture, broadly resolving into two phases with a time gap of about 4
Centuries from each other. In the Hinayana Phase are included two Chaitya Halls
(Cave Nos. 9 & 10) and 4 Viharas (Cave Nos. 8, 12, 13 & 15A). In the
Mahayana Phase are included 3 Chaityas (Cave nos. 19 & 26 and 29 being
incomplete) and 11 exquisite Viharas (Cave Nos. 1,2,4,6,7,11,15,17 and 20 to 24).
sculptures of the Mahayana Phase establish a formal religious imagery. While the
Hinayana monuments at the site are virtually devoid of carvings, Cave 1, is one of
the finest monasteries here, are among the greatest at
. Graciously posed Bodhisattvas namely Padmapani and Vajrapani with elaborate head
dressed flank the antechamber doorway. The walls on the side of the antechamber
depict the assault and temptation by Mara and the miracle at
Sravasti. Scenes from
the Jataka tales such as Shibi Jataka, Samkhpala Jataka, Mahajanka
Champeyya Jataka are depicted in the walls of the caves.
2, monastery repeats the basic scheme of Cave 1, and is also remarkable for its
painted ceiling. The paintings include, variety of designs, scrollwork, geometric
patterns, miniature seated Buddhas, dream of the Buddha’s mother, Maya and the
birth of the Buddha, procession of female devotees carrying offerings and scenes
from the Hamsa Jataka and Vidhurapandita Jataka.
Caves 4 & 6 are Viharas or
Monasteries of architectural interest.
10, 12 & 15A, are Chaitya Halls of the Hinayana period. Cave 10 is among the
first excavations at the site and is one of the most impressive early Buddhist
Chaitya Halls in
dating back to the 2nd Century BC. This cave contains both the earlier
and later groups of paintings. Scenes from the Sama Jataka and Chhaddanta Jataka
are depicted. Cave 12 has lost its façade, with the result that the interior
square hall is now exposed. In cave 15A only portions of the front wall survive.
14, 15 & 16, are Viharas belonging to the Mahayana Phase. Cave 14 was planned
on a large scale, but was never finished. The verandah of cave 15 has mostly
fallen. Above the doorway is a stupa sheltered by a canopy of serpent hoods.
Buddha images appear in the shrine and on the rear wall of the hall. Cave 16 is
one of the finest monasteries at
. Within the hall on the left wall is an illustration of the conversion of
Buddha’s cousin. Other paintings include the miracle of
procession, Buddha begging for alms from his wife and son, Gautam’s first
meditation, scenes from the Hasti Jataka and Maha Ummagga
17, a vihara preserves the greatest number of wall-paintings which includes a row
of eight Buddhas, a much damaged panel of Indra flying through the clouds
accompanied by his troupe of celestial dancers, Apsaras and Musicians, Buddha
subduing Nalagiri, the furious elephant sent by his jealous sousin, Devadatta and
scenes from various Jataka tales such as the Chhaddanta Jataka, Mahamapi Jataka,
Vessantara Jataka, Sutasoma Jataka, Matiposaka Jataka, Sama Jataka, Ruru Jataka
and Nigrodhamriga Jataka.
Cave 19, is a perfectly executed rock-cut
20 is a small monastery in which the antechamber protrudes into the hall and there
are no columns. Caves 21 to 24 represent the last examples of work at
. They are all in different stages of completion. Cave 26 is a Chaitya Hall larger
than that of Cave 19, but is otherwise similar in its arrangements and decorative
The splendid cave paintings of
and the rock-cut caves of Ellora are World Cultural Heritage sites.
Other Buddhist Site in the The Great State". Karla Caves , Kanheri Caves , Bhaja Caves
The best time to visit :- The best
time to visit Ajanta caves is between October
|| These caves are situated 104 kms from
|| These caves are situated 52 kms from Jalgaon Railway