The Ajanta caves are actually 30 rock cut Buddhist cave temples in a series in Aurangabad district of the province of Maharashtra in India. Its founding dates back to Second century BCE to 600 CE in the historical consideration. The paintings and the sculptures inscribed on the walls represent the Buddhist religious art rather it can be termed as the masterpieces of artistic excellence.
The paintings were built in two phases. The first groups were built around second century BCE and the later phases of building the caves span around 600. It is presumed that under the patronage of Satavahana dynesty (230 BCE to 220 CE) 9, 10, 12 and 15A caves were built. There are controversies regarding the second phase of construction but it is said that the construction of the second phase was possible under the patronage of emperor Harishena belonging to the Vaktaka dnesty.
It is promulgated by the researchers that these caves were abandoned after the fall of Harishena and since then these temples have been abandoned and gradually got forgotten and during the intervening centuries the caves were hidden by the jungle grown around in course of time and were left unvisited, undisturbed and consequently forgotten.
But John Smith a British officer of the 28th cavalry discovered the cave no 10 while hunting tiger and the caves were then homes of nothing but bats, birds, and other animals. A little later of John Smiths’ discovery the Ajanta Caves became renowned for its impressive architecture, beautiful setting and for historical importance.
There are paintings on almost all the walls but in course of time and for human interference the art works have eroded and have become mostly fragmented but our minds peep back into the history of that glorious past as if we can see lively human habitation dedicated to artistic excellence and humane spiritual sublimation sitting in the caves at the very sight of them.
The Ajanta Caves were declared World Heritage Site in 1983. The location of the Ajanta caves is 75040’N 20030’ E. The distance of the Ajanta Caves is 107 km from Aurangabad district headquarters in Maharashtra.
The Ajanta Caves is kept open to the visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka, Nepal, Thailand & Mayanmar) against Rs 10 per head. Visitors of other countries have to pay $5 or Indian Rs 250 per head. Children up to 15 get free access. The Ajanta Caves has become a major tourist spot in India to the global people.