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Ajanta caves - the Buddhist rock-hewn Ajanta caves

Ajanta Caves Picture in Rainy Season...Great Time To visit in Rainy Day
Ajanta caves - the Buddhist rock-hewn Ajanta caves, are only about 59 kilometers from Jalgaon (Railway station on Delhi - Mumbai & Allahabad - Mumbai mail line of the Central railways); and from Aurangabad 104 kilometers (From Ellora 100 Kilometers).  At the end of seventh century, Buddhism began to decline in the land of its origin and its shrines fell into desolation and ruin. For a thousand years, Ajanta caves lay buries in the jungle-clad slopes of the western mountain range, until in 1819 it was discovered accidentally. The isolated scrap of horse shoe shaped rock rising over a ravine to a steep height of 76.20 meter (250 ft.) made an ideal site for the monastic sanctuary. Limited in space, the Ajanta caves had to be more compact than those of Ellora caves. Most of them ware of an earliest date, the oldest belonging tp pre Christian times. The architectural and sculptural values in these rock temples are surpassed by the addition of third art form, painting, which, more than all else has given Ajanta its world fame.

Having seen these cave temples the visitor will perhaps wonder at the profusion of secular homes and motifs on the walls. He may be bewildered by the uninhibited vivacity of the female figures, the famous Ajanta type with well curves forms, elongated eyes, monks and their associates painted side by side and with equal zest the physical beauty of women and the spiritual beauty of the Bodhisattva.

There the thirty caves, some of them unfinished and negligible. Sixteen contains mural paintings, but the best work is to be found in Caves 1, 2, 16, 17, and 19. The best sculptures are in caves 1, 4, 17, 19, 24, and 26. The numbering of the caves has been done in consecutive order and has no relation to their chronological sequence. It starts at the western extremity of the rock, near the entrance. The present entrance does not seem to have been the original approach to the excavations.

Five of the caves 9,10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-halls. The other is vihars. As for antiquity the oldest (second century B.C. to second century A.D.), the creation of the Hinayan system, are chaityas caves 9 and 10, and viharas 8, 12, 13, and 30. The others, excavated after a long interval, belong to the fifth and sixth centuries and make the Mahayana series. In older times, each cave had flights of steps which led to the picturesque stream flowing deep down through a narrow gorge. With the collapse of cave front most of these steps have been destroyed. Caves 1,2,16 and 17 are fitted with spotlights, available for use on payment. There use is essential.

Ajanta Cave paintings the technique employed by the painters in the ancient India has been described in contemporary works on aesthetics. First, a rough plaster of clay, cow-dung and rice-husks ware lay upon the selected rock surface and thoroughly pressed in. It made a layer about one and half centimeter in thickness. On this coat of fine lime was spread in order to attain a smooth surface. The outline was drawn with brush and then color was applied. The pigments used were of the simplest kind of materials such as yellow earth, red ocher, green rock crushed into burnt duct brick, lamp black and copper oxide. A second was then applied. Through this the outline was dimly visible. Other brushes were used to fill in color until the picture, in the language of ancient Aesthetics, bloomed. Finally, plastic relief was attained by shading with darker lines and toning the highlights.

The central theme on the walls comes under two heads-narrative scenes from the Buddhas life and illustrations of Jataka Fobles. Within this framework of spirituality an entire pageant of contemporary life has been vividly covered. Depicted on these walls is the portraiture not only of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, but of a wide range of human types in different attitudes, under the stress of varied emotions and drawn from every social level.

The paintings on the ceiling, unlike those on the walls, are mainly decorative patterns. They include geometric designs, floral and ornamental motifs, flying figures of celestial beings, animals, birds, plants. The grouping in panels or compartments is with adequate variation in color schemes.

How to Rich Ajanta Air :
 
Mumbai – Aurangabad (IXU) flight is a popular choice among the upscale tourists to Ajanta and Ellora. You have a choice of some 5 daily flights between Mumbai and Aurangabad. It is a short flight that takes between 45 to 60 minuets. In fact a larger part of the traveling time will be spend in negotiating the traffics the two cities, especially on roads of the more busy Mumbai. One reason for the flight’s popularity is that you can save a days travel to reach Aurangabad. It is also not uncommon for tourists to opt for one way by flight and return by the night train. So it is a smart choice of options and budgets to a Ellora/Ajanta tour.
Jet Airways, JetLite, Kingfisher and Air India operated daily flights. The fare varies though it is about Rs3000 one way.
 
Aurangabad airport (also called Chikkalthana Airport ) is about 10 Km (6 Miles) east of the city center. Ellora is further some 30km  from the city. Ajanta is 100km in a different direction than Ellora. So making it to Ahjanta and Ellora on the same day, even if you opt for the flight to save time from Mumbai is a bit hectic.
 
Airlines and destinations

Airlines
Destinations
Air India Delhi, Mumbai
Air India Regional Delhi
Jet Airways Delhi, Hyderabad [begins 30 October], Mumbai, Pune
Kingfisher Airlines Mumbai
SpiceJet Hyderabad

How to Rich Ajanta Train :
 
There is a train Devagiri Express from Mumbai to Nandeul & Tapovan Exp. Other super fast train is Sach Khand Express from Nanded to Amritsar and there are many trains from Manmad Junction. Aurangabad from where the transport and Taxies are available for Ajanta and Ellora separately. Maharashtra Governments Excursion tour are also available. For Ajanta Caves Jalgaon Railway Station or Bhusaval Railway Station is at very near only 59 km. There are lots of MSRTC ST busses available from Jalgaon to Ajanta and Aurangabad. You can hire a Car or Taxi - Cab Hire a Car also. here are mettaled roads available for passengers coming from Northern India, Bombay and other cities of India.

Ajanta Distances from various locations

  • Aurangabad to Jalgaon - 161 km
  • Aurangabad to Shirdi - 154 km
  • Aurangabad to Pune - 307 km
  • Aurangabad to Paithan - 56 km
  • Aurangabad to Nashik - 229 km
  • Aurangabad to Nanded - 307 km
  • Aurangabad to Bijapur - 440 km
  • Aurangabad to Mumbai (Via Pune) - 438 km
  • Aurangabad to Mumbai (Via Nashik) - 412 km
  • Aurangabad to Ahamadnagar - 112 km
  • Aurangabad to Shani Signapur - 90 km
 happy journey :)

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