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Kahani Bazaar

Ajanta Ellora Caves

 

Ajanta Caves

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The Ajanta Caves are a series of 29 Buddhist rock-cut cave temples, some of which date back to the 2nd century BC. Encompassing both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the Ajanta Caves preserve some of the best masterpieces of Buddhist art in India. The caves were built in two phases starting around 200 BC, with the second group of caves built around 600 AD. They were used by Buddhist monks as prayer halls (Chaitya Grihas) and monasteries (Viharas) for about nine centuries, and then abruptly abandoned. They fell into oblivion until they were rediscovered in 1819.

Ajanta View Point 

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Before you proceed towards Ajanta Caves, you should make it a point to visit the Ajanta View Point (a detour of 16 kms), which offers a panoramic view and a prelude the caves.

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On 28th April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, while hunting tigers, accidentally discovered the entrance to one of the cave temples (Cave No. 10) deep within the tangled undergrowth. Shortly after this rediscovery, the Ajanta Caves became renowned for their exotic paintings, impressive architecture and long-forgotten history.
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The caves feature several exquisite works of art which represent the life of a long forgotten era. In their range of time and treatments, the caves reflect a panorama of life in ancient India and are a source of all kinds of information: hairstyles, ornaments, textiles, musical instruments, details of architecture. customs, etc., mostly inspired from the Jataka Tales. It was from this collection of classical Indian art that a particular style was formed, which traveled with Buddhism to many parts of the world. In 1983, the Ajanta Caves were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ellora Caves

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Ellora Caves are an impressive complex of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples built between the 6th and 10th century AD near the ancient Indian village of Ellora. The caves have a slightly less dramatic setting than those at Ajanta, but they have more exquisite sculptures. Ellora is a World Heritage Site and the most visited ancient monument in Maharashtra. 

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Kailas Temple, also known as the Kailasa or the Kailasanatha, is the unrivalled centrepiece of Ellora. This looks like a freestanding, multi-storeyed temple complex, but it was carved out of one single rock. The carving work began around 550 AD, about the same time the Ajanta Caves (100 kms north-east) were abandoned. The artisans began sculpting this enchanting marvel from the top - a true showcase of immaculate planning and craftsmanship that was handed down for over 3 generations.
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The craftsmanship is a showcase of some interesting creative leverage, wherein skilled artisans have created artístic masterpieces based on Indian mythology. in an intriguing way. The sculptures, complemented with devout messaging, offer simple yet fulfilling understanding of the artistic depiction, which can be easily understood by the common man. The most notable are the depictions of the 'Saptamatruka' (the 7 moods of the mother and a woman) and the small pictorial runes portraying the epical stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The 12 Buddhist (1-12), 17 Hindu (13-29) and 5 Jain (30-34) caves, built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.

Pitalkhora Caves
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Pitalkhora Caves Only 40 kms away from Ellora Caves are located the Pitalkhora Caves, one of the earliest known caves in India. With many unusual sculptures, these caves date back to the 2nd century BC. They are cut into the side of a narrow valley and comprise mainly of Viharas or Buddhist monasteries. The main gate has a wide terrace, with the naga (serpent) and guardians flanking the door and a row of elephants decorating the complex. The caves are divided into two groups. Caves 1-9 face north and east and are part of Group I. These caves are adjacent to each other. The other caves face south and make up Group II. Today, the artifacts found at Pitalkhora can be seen on display at the National Museum, New Delhi.

The Aurangabad Caves 
The Aurangabad Caves are 12 rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill running roughly east to west, nearly 2 kms north from Bibi Ka Maqbara. These caves were carved out of comparatively soft basalt rock during the 6th and 7th century. Tantric Hinduism has been the inspiration for their architecture and iconography, Aurangabad Caves can be found at two different locations, at a distance of a kilometre apart and are referred to as Western Group Caves (Cave 1-5) and Eastern Group Caves (Cave 6-IO.

Soneri Mahal
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situated near the University is the arand historical palace called Soneri Mahal, which once belonged to a king Trom Bundelkhand. The halls inside the palace reflect the ancient periods in which it was built, and as the paintings were once done in gold, it earned the name Soneri Mahal. The palace now has a library and a small history museum displaying old statues, coins and ancient manuscripts. Every year, for the past few years, the prestigious Ellora-Aurangabad Festival has been held here.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum 
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The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation established the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum near Nehru Bal Udyan and this is one place where you can get an insight into the life and history of the Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Museum has six Exhibition Halls and the displays highlight the military capabilities of the great warrior. It holds some of the weapons and antiques that were used in the Maratha era. A 500-year-old chain mail suit, a copy of the Quran handwritten by Aurangzeb and a 400-year-old Paithani saree are some of the main exhibits here.

History Museum of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada university

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The museum houses miniature paintings of Maratha, Rajput and Mughal origin, as well as paintings from the East India Company era. You can also see excavated material belonging to the Satavahana dynasty. Attractive objects from China and Japan, gold embroidery and numerous manuscripts in Persian and Arabic, which date back to the 17th and 18th century AD are also on display here.

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