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Ajanta and Ellora Caves


Since the beginning of time, art has been regarded as more than a joyful interest - it has always been regarded as a spiritual endeavour. It was presented to the sublime god as a Sadhana, according to the artists. Artists saw it as their dharma, and the goal was to carry out their responsibilities. The murals on the walls of Ajanta and Ellora were created by guilds of artists who knew no religious bounds.

The concept of Ras:

  • The ability to sense beauty or taste Ras cannot be acquired via education; it is only through deep personal development that one may experience the delight of beautiful.

  • Eternal knowledge experience that remained in the artist's mind is shared with the audience as a living experience, manifested via art.


A mural is a large picture painted or affixed directly on a wall or ceiling. Mural paintings have been found in India dating from the 2nd century BC to the 8th and 10th centuries AD. Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai cave, Ravan Chhaya rock-shelter, and Kailashnath temple in Ellora caves are some of the places where this painting may be found. The majority of the themes in these paintings are religious in nature: Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, to name a few.


The Sahyadri hills (Western Ghats) on the Waghora river near Aurangabad, Maharashtra, are home to a complex of rock-cut caves known as Ajanta Caves. There are a total of 29 caves (all Buddhist), 25 of which were used as Viharas (residence caves) and four of which were utilised as Chaitya (prayer halls).

The Period of development ranges between the years 200 B.C. and 650 A.D.The Buddhist monks inscribed the Ajanta caves with the help of the Vakataka rulers, one of them was Harishena. The Ajanta caves are mentioned in the travel diaries of Chinese Buddhist adventurers Fa Hien (during the reign of Emperor Chandragupta II; 380-415 CE) and Hieun Tsang (during the reign of Emperor Harshavardhana; 380-415 CE).

Cave 10 houses an ultimate treasure that was only recently discovered: parts of the oldest surviving artwork of the Buddha's life and an image of the first preaching at Sarnath. The legend of Udayana, a tale of two rival queens, one good and the other malevolent, is depicted. The most dramatic and well-preserved scenes, however, depict two Jataka stories: the "Shyama Jataka" tells of a forest dweller who was killed by the king of Varanasi's poisoned arrow. The "Chaddanta Jataka" is right next to it, and it narrates the incident of a virtuous six-tusked elephant who is slaughtered by a jealous and vindictive queen.

The faces of the persons depicted are so lifelike that you believe they must be portraits of actual people. There is none of the idealisations of otherworldliness that can be found in later buddha pictures.

  • absence of blue colour

  • outlines in red

  • patronised by Vakatakas

  • themed around Buddhism


The invaluable ensemble of 34 caves at Ellora in the Charanandri hills of western India’s Maharashtra State showcases a spirit of co-existence and religious tolerance through the outstanding architectural activities carried out by the followers of three prominent religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Jainism. Ellora Caves includes all the elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value, including the architectural and sculptural elements that bear witness to its rich heritage. It accurately represents India's diverse cultural fabric.

Ellora monuments were patronised by the Rashtrakutas, Kalachuris, Chalukyas, and Yadavas. The Rashtrakuta and Kalachuri dynasties built portions of the Hindu and Buddhist caves at Ellora, while the Yadava dynasty built some Jain caves. They were constructed in close proximity to one another and exemplified the religious harmony prevalent in ancient India.

Cave 10 or the Vishvakarma cave or Carpenter’s Cave is the most famous Buddhist Cave at Ellora.

The construction of Kailashnath Temple at Ellora was the pinnacle of Indian rock-cut architecture. It's a massive multi-story structure cut both inside and out of the rock's centre. It was cut out of a single piece of rock to resemble Mount Kailas. The Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna I constructed it in the eighth century.

Conclusion: significance, preservation and restoration

The Caves' tale is unrivalled in terms of the history it contains. With the goal and desire to preserve them for eternity, the paintings have been duplicated and recopied, and the walls have been coated and re-coated.

However, Ajanta's history is one of human carelessness and failed attempts to retain its glory. Respect and a willingness to protect these caverns for all time are what we owe them. They behold the cultural heritage of India.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require developing and implementing a framework to address issues such as visitor management as well as environmental management; long-term monitoring for seepage and cracking patterns in all the caves; and capacity building of conservation staff at the property, with the objective of ensuring the long-term protection of attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of the property.


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