AJANTA AND ELLORA CAVES IN AURANGABAD, WORLD HERITAGE SITE
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Aurangbad is gateway to rich group Buddhist Hindu and Jain Caves and Islamic Monuments that have been built over the age and have existed side by side. The famous Ajanta and Ellora caves are located near the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Aurangbad is located 388 kms from Mumbai and has a domestic airport connecting Mumbai, Pune and other cities to it. The city is connected by air, good roads and rail to other parts of the states. It is a convenient base for visiting the famous rock-cut temple of Ajanta & Ellora.
Ajanta, A World Heritage Site In India
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1998, Ajanta's tryst with the destiny goes back two thousand or more years ago to a secluded horseshoe shaped ravine fed by a Waterfall. Here, hidden from the world, Buddhist monks, priests and thousands of unknown artists worked by us and torchlight to carve out magnificent murals, and carvings that narrate the story of Buddha in his cycle of incarnations.
The natural setting of the caves of Ajanta is incomparable in its beauty. It is located 106 kms. North-east of Aurangabad, and strung across in a half-moon along the Waghora river. At the head of this mammoth horseshoe shaped rock, 30 caves overlook a gorge where a waterfall feeds a natural pool.
The caves would have thus remained, hidden in this remote mountain ravine, had it not been for a captain of the British Army. In 1819, Captain John Smith who was o a tiger- haunting expedition, stumbled on them and accidentally 'discovered' the spectacular Ajanta Caves. The location from where he made his amazing discovery lies above the middle of the gorge and gives a perspective of the whole site. The Viewpoint can visit to relive the experience that Captain John Smith must have had when he first set his eyes on the abandoned caves of Ajanta.
Historical evidence suggests that the Ajanta monastery was settled around 2000 years back, when followers of Gautama Buddha retired to a lonely precipice. There, with mallet and chisel, they dug into the rock and carved out nearly 30 temples and dwelling hails over a period of some 600 (according to the expert). They painted exquisite frescoes on the walls and ceilings that portrayed the life of ancient India. In spite of the ravages of time, the colors of the frescoes still glow: flowers a thousand years old sparkle like jewels, vivid figures move with life, dancing dwarves sing and play musical instruments.
There's conventional wisdom. And there square pegs in round holes. Conventional wisdom states that buildings should be constructed bottom upwards. First the base is built, then the walls and finally the ceiling. Right? Wrong! At least in Ellora. Here you will find monuments carved top to bottom. In other words, first they built the ceiling, then the walls and finally the base. Confused?
Astounded would be more appropriate. Because that's what you feel when you witness the grandeur of the spectacular rock-cut monuments of Ellora. And you won't be alone. Even experts universally agree that India rock-cut architecture reached its zenith in Ellora and confirmed it as a World Heritage Site in 1983. The amazing cave temples, more correctly structures dug out of the vertical face of rock were excavated between the 6th and 10th centuries approximately under the Rashtrakuta dynasty.
Difference Between Ajanta and Ellora Caves
While in most books Ajanta Ellora are separated by a hyphen, in reality, the two cave complexes are as far removed from each other as possible. Compared to the painting and sculptures of Ajanta, Ellora is more famous for its architectural extravagance.
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