Ajanta Caves
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Incredible Wall Paintings and Sculpture at Ellora and the Caves of Ajanta
The 30 Caves at Ajanta ("the finest surviving examples of Indian painting") are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The Caves of Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 Ellora caves are actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills. The Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain rock-cut temples were built between the 5th century and 10th century. There are 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and 5 Jain caves. The two UNESCO World Heritage sites, which are short drives from Aurangabad in the Indian state of Maharashtra, can be visited in a single day, or a day can be allocated to each. I stayed at the Taj Residency Aurangabad, which I can heartily recommend. A tour of the caves is an unbelievable experience. The paintings at Ajanta, many well preserved, are fantastic, as is the setting and the sculpture, and provides a vivid picture of the Buddhist monks and their lifestyle. The sculpture at Ellora, including the Kailasa or the Kailasanatha, which is the largest building cut from a single rock in the world, leaves one awestruck. The comparison of the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain subject matter and styles further enriches the experience.
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