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Anupriya Bedi Apr 01 2014

Tell me about the different caves in Ajanta?

Kanika Nevatia Apr 01 2014
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The structure of the Ajanta Caves is intriguing consisting of many different caves. The first caves date back to the 2nd and 1st century BCE and include caves 9 and 10, both of which are chaityas. Caves 8, 12, 13 and 15A are monasteries. These are the Hinayana monuments. Then came another spurt of excavation with the carving out of caves 19 and 26 and caves 1, 2, 16 and 17. These are generally regarded as the Mahayana monuments.

Photo of Ajanta Caves (by Shaikh Munir)

The Mahajanaka mural in Cave 1 is the most detailed story. An important sculpture here is the large figure of the Preaching Buddha in the shrine room. This is the most magnificent of the Ajanta Caves, so if you want to save the best for the last then come here only after you have finished with the other 29 caves. Though Cave 4 is incomplete, like Cave 3 and Cave 5, it is still the largest vihara, supported by 28 pillars.

Photo of Ajanta Caves (by danchitnis)

Cave 6 is the only two-storey vihara in Ajanta. Cave 10 is said to be the first cave spotted by the British; look for the earliest surviving Buddha mural here. A famous painting, the Dying Princess, can be seen in the 5th century vihara, Cave 16. Spend quality time in Cave 17 if the paintings and murals are your main interest. Cave 19 is the finest chaitya hall in Ajanta with elaborate sculptures.

Photo of Cave 9 (by Marcin Bialec)

There is a lovely view of the river from this cave, which is believed to be the original entrance to the Ajanta complex. Cave 24 would have been the largest vihara if it had been completed. The incomplete Cave 26 has a reclining Parinirvana Buddha. The cave paintings are fragile, but the Japanese have promised help. Do pay a visit to these breath taking caves. You could check out the entry fee of Ajanta Caves here.
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