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The Mystery Of The Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves

Western India April 28th, 1819. While hunting tigers just outside the village of Ajanta, British officer John Smith discovers 29 elaborate cave temples carved into the side of a rocky cliff overlooking the Waghora River.

Believed to have been constructed in 200 B.C., the caves architecture and artwork reveal new insights into the origins of India's mysterious sacred past.

Abdul Nasir Mohammadi a tourist guide said, "Ajanta is unique in the sense that these are the most ancient Buddhist caves of India. Here they started the work from 200 B.C., and this work continued till the end of 6th century A.D.

Ratnakar Shevale a tourist guide said, " After 7th Century A.D, Buddhism started declining all over India. And all these caves are abandoned, nobody was living here and so in course of time a dense forest was grown up here and all these caves were covered under vegetation.

David Childress a author said, "As you walk into the Ajanta caves you see all kinds of temples carved out of solid rock, niches and alcoves, even statues. But it's all been carved out of one giant block of rock."

Visited yearly by thousands of Buddhist worshippers, the caves are considered sacred even to this da. Built as holy shrines and temples by devoted monks.

Ajanta Caves paintings

They contain numerous places of worship complete with paintings and sculptures depicting the life and times of the Supreme Buddha, often referred to as the Enlightened One.

David Efurd, Ph.D said, "There are many different sculpted subjects at Ajanta. Many of the sculptures are of the Buddha. In addition to those sculptures, there are various depictions of other mythological beings. These are called Jatakas. These Jatakas show these previous lives, and these lives could be related to, say the Buddha being born as an animal, or being born as a deity, or being born as a human."

Even today, modern engineers are baffled as to how the caves could have been cut from the 70 foot high granite cliffs more than 2,000 years ago.