The AJANTA CAVES in Aurangabad district of
Maharashtra state of India
are about 29 rock-cut
Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd
century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and
rock cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples
of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present
emotion through gesture, pose and form.
According to UNESCO, these are masterpieces of
Buddhist religious art
that influenced Indian art that followed. The caves were built in two
phases, the first group starting around the 2nd century BC, while the
second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older
accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to Walter
M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the
Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the
Ajanta Caves have
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site .
Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship halls of
Buddhist traditions carved into a 250 feet wall of rock.
The caves also present paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths
of the Buddha, pictorial tales from Aryasura's Jatakamala, as well as
rock-cut sculptures of
Buddhist deities in vogue between the 2nd
century BCE and 5th century CE. Textual records suggest that these
caves served as a monsoon retreat for monks, as well as a resting site
for merchants and pilgrims in ancient India. While vivid colours and
mural wall painting were abundant in Indian history as evidenced by
historical records, Caves 16, 17, 1 and 2 of Ajanta form the largest
corpus of surviving ancient Indian wall-painting. Panoramic view
Ajanta Caves from the nearby hill Ajanta is famous for its
Ajanta Caves site are mentioned in the memoirs of several
medieval era Chinese
Buddhist travelers to
India and by a Mughal era
Akbar era in early 17th century. They were covered by
jungle until accidentally "discovered" and brought to the Western
attention in 1819 by a colonial British officer on a tiger hunting
party. The Ajanta caves are located on the side of a rocky cliff that
is on the north side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur,
Deccan plateau . Further round the gorge are a number of
waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the
Ellora Caves , Ajanta is the major tourist attraction of
Maharashtra. They are about 59 kilometres (37 miles) from the city of
India , 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Pachora
, 104 kilometres (65 miles) from the city of Aurangabad , and 350
kilometres (220 miles) east-northeast from
Mumbai . They are 100
kilometres (62 miles) from the Ellora Caves, which contain
Jain as well as
Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar
to Ajanta. The Ajanta style is also found in the
Ellora Caves and
other sites such as the
Elephanta Caves and the cave temples of
* 1 History
* 1.1 Caves of the first (Satavahana) period
* 1.2 Caves of the later, or Vākāṭaka, period
* 1.3 Rediscovery by the Western world
* 2.1 Copies
* 2.2 Significance
* 3 Architecture and sculpture
* 3.1 Site
* 3.2 Monasteries
* 3.3 Worship halls
* 4 Cave-by-cave
* 4.1 Cave 1
* 4.2 Cave 2
* 4.3 Cave 4
* 4.4 Caves 9–10
* 4.5 Cave 17
* 4.6 Other caves
* 5 Spink\'s chronology and cave history
* 5.1 Role of Hindus in building
* 6 Impact on modern paintings
* 7 See also
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
Ajanta Caves are generally agreed to have been made in two
distinct periods, the first belonging to the 2nd century BCE to 1st
century CE, and second period that followed several centuries later.
The caves consist of 36 identifiable foundations, some of them
discovered after the original numbering of the caves from 1 through
29. The later identified caves have been suffixed with the letters of
the alphabet, such as 15A identified between originally numbered caves
15 and 16. The cave numbering is a convention of convenience, and has
nothing to do with chronological order of their construction.
CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
Cave 9, a first period
Hinayana style worship hall with stupa
but no idols.
The earliest group constructed consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and
15A. This grouping and that they belong to the
Hinayana (Theravada )
tradition of Buddhism is generally accepted by scholars, but there are
differing opinions on which century the early caves were built.
According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to
100 CE, probably under the patronage of the
Hindu Satavahana dynasty
(230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer
the period of the
Maurya Empire (300 BCE to 100 BCE). Of these, caves
9 and 10 are stupa containing worship halls of chaitya -griha form,
and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section
below for descriptions of these types).
According to Spink, once the Satavahana period caves were made, the
site was not further developed for a considerable period until the
mid-5th century. However, the early caves were in use during this
dormant period, and
Buddhist pilgrims visited the site according to
the records left by Chinese pilgrim Fa Hien around 400 CE.
CAVES OF THE LATER, OR VāKāṭAKA, PERIOD
The second phase of construction at the
Ajanta Caves site began in
the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves
were made over an extended period from the 4th to the 7th centuries
CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert
on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took
place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign
Harishena of the Vākāṭaka dynasty. This view
has been criticised by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by
most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington
and Harle. Cave 26, a second period Mahayana style worship hall
with stupa and idols.
The second phase is attributed to the theistic
Mahāyāna , or
Greater Vehicle tradition of Buddhism. Caves of the second period
are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves.
Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya -grihas, the rest viharas. The most
elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some
refurbishing and repainting of the early caves.
Spink states that it is possible to establish dating for this period
with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his
chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink's ideas
are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions.
The Archaeological Survey of
India website still presents the
traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th
– 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries".
According to Spink, the construction activity at the incomplete
Ajanta Caves was abandoned by wealthy patrons in about 480 CE, a few
years after the death of Harishena. However, states Spink, the caves
appear to have been in use for a period of time as evidenced by the
wear of the pivot holes of caves constructed close to 480 CE.
According to Richard Cohen, 7th-century Chinese traveler Xuanzang's
reports about the caves, and the scattered graffiti from the medieval
centuries uncovered at the site suggests that the
Ajanta Caves were
known and probably in use, but without a stable or steady Buddhist
community presence at the site. The Ajanta caves are mentioned in the
Ain-i-Akbari by Abu al-Fazl, as twenty four rock-cut
cave temples each with remarkable idols.
REDISCOVERY BY THE WESTERN WORLD
On 28 April 1819, a British officer named John Smith, of the 28th
Cavalry, while hunting tiger, "discovered" the entrance to Cave No. 10
when a local shepherd boy guided him to the location and the door. The
caves were well known by locals already. Captain Smith went to a
nearby village and asked the villagers to come to the site with axes,
spears, torches and drums, to cut down the tangled jungle growth that
made entering the cave difficult. He then vandalised the wall by
scratching his name and the date over the painting of a bodhisattva .
Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the
years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult
today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay
Literary Society in 1822. Name and date inscribed by John Smith
after he found Cave 10 in 1819.
Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their "exotic"
setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional and
unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings
were made in the century after rediscovery. In 1848, the Royal Asiatic
Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy
and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency
, with John Wilson as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of
the new Archaeological Survey of India.
During the colonial era, the Ajanta site was in the territory of the
princely state of the Hyderabad and not British
India . In early
Nizam of Hyderabad appointed people to restore the artwork,
converted the site into a museum and built a road to bring tourists to
the site for a fee. These efforts resulted in early mismanagement,
states Richard Cohen, and hastened the deterioration of the site.
Post-independence, the state government of
Maharashtra built arrival,
transport, facilities and better site management. The modern Visitor
Center has good parking facilities and public conveniences and ASI
operated buses run at regular intervals from Visitor Center to the
The Ajanta Caves, along with the Ellora Caves, have become the most
popular tourist destination in Maharashtra, and are often crowded at
holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the
paintings. In 2012, the
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation
announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance
complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 max-width:330px">
Vajrapani on either side of the
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of
caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves
(Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of ancient painting
India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if
not earlier, the Indian painters had mastered an easy and fluent
naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner
comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".
Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved
mural paintings which, states James Harle, "have come to represent
Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and represent "the
great glories not only of Gupta but of all Indian art". They fall
into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17,
and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were
thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised
chronology proposed by Spink would place them in the 5th century as
well, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one
reflecting a team from a different region. The Ajanta frescos are
classical paintings and the work of confident artists, without
cliches, rich and full. They are luxurious, sensuous and celebrate
physical beauty, aspects that early Western observers felt were
shockingly out of place in these caves presumed to be meant for
religious worship and ascetic monastic life.
The paintings are in "dry fresco ", painted on top of a dry plaster
surface rather than into wet plaster. All the paintings appear to be
the work of painters supported by discriminating connoisseurship and
sophisticated patrons from an urban atmosphere. We know from literary
sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the
Gupta period. Unlike much Indian mural painting, compositions are not
laid out in horizontal bands like a frieze, but show large scenes
spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the
centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and
elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The
paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by
Harisena himself, concentrate on those
Jataka tales which show
previous lives of the
Buddha as a king, rather than as deer or
elephant or another
Jataka animal. The scenes depict the
about to renounce the royal life.
In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished
areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in
caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink's account of the
chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief
busy period accounts for the absence of painting in places including
cave 4 and the shrine of cave 17, the later being plastered in
preparation for paintings that were never done.
Dancing girl in Ajanta fresco, a 2012 photograph (left) and
Robert Gill 's copy in 19th-century. a detail: original left,
copy by Lady Herringham (1915) right
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were
rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are
important for a complete understanding of the works. A number of
attempts to copy the Ajanta paintings began in the 19th-century for
European and Japanese museums. Some of these works have later been
lost in natural and fire disasters. In 1846 for example, Major Robert
Gill , an Army officer from
Madras Presidency and a painter, was
appointed by the
Royal Asiatic Society to make copies of the frescoes
on the cave walls. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844
to 1863. He made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but
four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866,
where they were on display. Gill returned to the site, and
recommenced his labours, replicating the murals until his death in
Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency
commissioned John Griffiths to work with his students to make copies
of Ajanta paintings, again for shipping to England. They worked on
this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of
which were displayed at the
Imperial Institute on
Exhibition Road in
London, one of the forerunners of the
Victoria and Albert Museum . But
in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred of the paintings in
storage in a wing of the museum. The V">
A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana
Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta
School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter
Nandalal Bose . The copies were published in full colour as the first
publication of London's fledgling
India Society . More than the
earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate
the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings
as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings
created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were
influenced by British Victorian styles of painting , those of the
Herringham expedition preferred an 'Indian Renascence' aesthetic of
the type pioneered by
Abanindranath Tagore .
Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to
use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using
stereoscopy , were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are
available online from the
British Library ), then Victor Goloubew in
1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of
the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).
Another attempt to make copies of the murals was made by the Japanese
artist Arai Kampō (荒井寛方:1878–1945) after being invited by
Rabindranath Tagore to
India to teach Japanese painting techniques.
He worked on making copies with tracings on Japanese paper from 1916
to 1918 and his work was conserved at Tokyo Imperial University until
the materials perished during the
1923 Great Kantō earthquake
1923 Great Kantō earthquake .
A painting from Cave 1. This cave features, states Spink, superb
murals and imperial quality paintings.
Cave 2, showing the extensive paint loss of many areas. It was never
finished by its artists, and shows Vidhura Jataka.
Buddha in his past lives, couples and their everyday life,
and decorative motifs.
Section of the mural in Cave 17, the 'coming of Sinhala '. The prince
Prince Vijaya ) is seen in both groups of elephants and riders.
Copy of Ajanta painting, in
Musée Guimet , Paris
Hamsa jâtaka, cave 17. This painting probably shows one of the
previous lives of the
Ajanta Caves painting are a significant source of socio-economic
information in ancient India. The Cave 1, for example, shows some
Sassanian (or Persian) characters, as do other paintings that states
Spink, are "filled with such foreign" looking types. This likely
reflects merchants and visitors from the flourishing trade routes of
ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE
Ajanta Caves have been carved into a massive rock of the Deccan
The caves are carved out of flood basalt rock of a cliff, part of the
Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the
Cretaceous geological period. The rock is layered horizontally, and
somewhat variable in quality. This variation within the rock layers
required the artists to amend their carving methods and plans in
places. The inhomogeneity in the rock have also led to cracks and
collapses in the centuries that followed, as with the lost portico to
cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level,
which was expanded downwards and outwards; as evidenced by some of the
incomplete caves such as the partially-built vihara caves 21 through
24 and the abandoned incomplete cave 28.
The sculpture artists likely worked at both excavating the rocks and
making the intricate carvings of pillars, roof and idols; further, the
sculpture and painting work inside a cave were an integrated parallel
tasks. A grand gateway to the site was carved, at the apex of the
gorge's horseshoe between caves 15 and 16, as approached from the
river, and it is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga ,
or protective Naga (snake) deity. Similar methods and application of
artist talent is observed in other cave temples of India, although
many with very different themes such as those from Hinduism and
Jainism. These include the Ellora caves, Ghototkacha caves, Elephanta
Bagh Caves ,
Badami Caves and
Aurangabad Caves .
The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a
number of different patrons to gain merit , with several inscriptions
recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave. The
later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single
patron from the local rulers or their court elites, again for merit in
Buddhist afterlife beliefs as evidenced by inscriptions such as those
in Cave 17. After the death of Harisena, smaller donors motivated by
getting merit added small "shrinelets" between the caves or add
statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive"
additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive
paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.
Square-principle plan of Cave 6 two levels, a vihara (monastery)
The majority of the caves are vihara halls with symmetrical square
plans. To each vihara hall are attached smaller square dormitory cells
cut into the walls. A vast majority of the caves were carved in the
second period, wherein a shrine or sanctuary is appended at the rear
of the cave, centred on a large statue of the Buddha, along with
exuberantly detailed reliefs and deities near him as well as on the
pillars and walls, all carved out of the natural rock. This change
reflects the shift from
Mahāyāna Buddhism. These caves
are often called monasteries.
The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by
square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this
are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister .
Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a
narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on
their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the
rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha
statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack
shrines. Spink places the change to a design with a shrine to the
middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a
shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.
The plan of Cave 1 (right) shows one of the largest viharas, but is
fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack
the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall.
Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal
stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.
Top: Interior of Ajanta chaitya hall, Cave 26, painting by
Robert Gill (c. 1868); Bottom: James Fergusson painting of Cave 19
The other type of main hall architecture is the narrower rectangular
plan with high arched ceiling type chaitya -griha – literally, "the
house of stupa". This hall is longitudinally divided into a nave and
two narrower side aisles separated by a symmetrical row of pillars,
with a stupa in the apse . The stupa is surrounded by pillars and a
concentric walking space for circumambulation. Some of the caves have
elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to
admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah , with
another space inside the doors running the width of the cave. The
oldest worship halls at Ajanta were built in the 2nd to 1st century
BCE, the newest ones in late 5th century CE, and the architecture of
both resembles the architecture of a Christian church , but without
the crossing or chapel chevette. The
Ajanta Caves follow the
Cathedral-style architecture found in still older rock-cut cave
carvings of ancient India, such as the
Lomas Rishi Cave of the
Ajivikas near Gaya in
Bihar dated to the 3rd century BCE. These
chaitya-griha are called worship or prayer halls.
The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early
period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All
follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a
central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but
allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a
common element of
Buddhist worship (pradakshina ). The later two have
high ribbed roofs carved into the rock, which reflect timber forms,
and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs and
are now smooth, the original wood presumed to have perished. The two
later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10
at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of
the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a
late and very incomplete chaitya hall.
The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and
un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal
columns, which were later painted with images of the Buddha, people
and monks in robes. In the second period columns were far more varied
and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with
elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are
carved over all their surface with floral motifs and Mahayana deities,
some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.
View into the sanctuary of cave 1 from the central hall. The
Buddha in the shrine room is seen through the aisle and vestibule.
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp
and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This cave, when
first made, would have been a less prominent position, right at the
end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the last caves to
have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken and was never
fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the
Buddha image in
the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits
from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of
damage to the paintings that would have happened if the garland-hooks
around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although
there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka
Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is
reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with
Jataka tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of
Buddha in which he was royal.
The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to
achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the
slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was
originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which
can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but
this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine
carvings, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from
where they have been lost. Cave 1, porch: Nagendra panel flanked
by yaksa panels
This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief
sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished
with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the
Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared
portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished.
The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules
on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch
with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on
the ends suggests that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase
of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a norm. Most areas of
the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments
remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central
doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between
the doorways to brighten the interiors.
Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 40 feet (12 m) long and 20
feet (6.1 m) high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside
supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls.
There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive
seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the
dharmachakrapravartana mudra . There are four cells on each of the
left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are
none at the ends of the rear aisle.
The walls and ceilings of Cave 1 are covered with paintings in a fair
state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The
scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with
scenes from the
Jataka stories of the Buddha's former lives as a
bodhisattva ), the life of the
Gautama Buddha , and those of his
veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta
are the two over-life-size figures of the protective bodhisattvas
Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha
shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above).
Cave 1 also features a fresco with characters with foreign looking
faces and dresses. One of these shows Sassanian (or Persian)
characters bowing before an Indian king. According to Spink, James
Fergusson , a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that
this scene corresponded to the Persian ambassador in 625 CE to the
court of the
Hindu Chalukya king
Pulakeshin II . An alternate theory
has been that the fresco represents a
Hindu ambassador visiting the
Persian king Khusrau II in 625 CE, a theory that Fergusson disagreed
with. These assumptions by colonial British era art historians,
state Spink and other scholars, has been responsible for wrongly
dating this painting to the 7th century, when in fact this reflects an
incomplete Harisena-era painting of a
Jataka tale with the
representation of trade between
India and distant lands such as
Sassanian near East that was common by the 5th century.
Cave 2 is known for its feminine focus in its carvings and
paintings. Above two females in Cave 2 fresco.
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been
preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to
Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation. This cave is best
known for its feminine focus, intricate rock carvings and paint
artwork yet it is incomplete and lacks consistency. One of the
5th-century frescoes in this cave also shows children at a school,
with those in the front rows paying attention to the teacher, while
those in the back row are shown distracted and acting.
Cave 2 was started in the 460s, but mostly carved between 475 and 477
CE, probably sponsored and influenced by a woman closely related to
emperor Harisena. It has a porch quite different from Cave 1. Even
the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by
robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of
cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends.
The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and
surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade
of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making
an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below
them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative
themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and
semi-divine motifs. Major carvings include that of goddess
She is a
Buddhist deity who originally was the demoness of smallpox
and a child eater, who the
Buddha converted into a guardian goddess of
fertility, easy child birth and one who protects babies.
The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been
widely published. They depict the
Jataka tales that are stories of the
Buddha's life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories
illustrated in cave 1 emphasise kingship, those in cave 2 show many
noble and powerful women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions
that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch's rear wall has a
doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either
side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.
Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the
floor. At various places, the artwork has become eroded due to decay
and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls,
ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the
Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the
special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant
to inform the community about the Buddha's teachings and life through
successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee
to walk through the aisles and 'read' the narratives depicted in
various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after
another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been
a core area of research since the site's rediscovery in 1819. Dieter
Schlingloff's identifications have updated our knowledge on the
Buddha in a preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas , Cave 4
The Archaeological Survey of
India board outside the caves gives the
following detail about cave 4:"This is the largest monastery planned
on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the
pedestal of the buddha's image mentions that it was a gift from a
Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D.
It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an
antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the
verandah contains the panel of Litany of
Avalokiteśvara ". Spink, in
contrast, dates this along with all other caves to pre-480 CE period.
The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the
Buddha in preaching pose
flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.
Entrance of cave no. 9.
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of
construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted
reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps
originally of the 1st century BCE and cave 9 about a hundred years
later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date
from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.
The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early
period, many from an incomplete programme of modernisation in the
second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive
images for votive purposes, around the 479–480 CE, nearly all
Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These
mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the
best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent
positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now
lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists
Cave 19 is known for the grandeur of its façade sponsored by
king Upendragupta, the standing Buddhas likely intrusively added in
479 CE by others.
Cave 17 along with Cave 16 with two great stone elephants at the
entrance and Cave 26 with sleeping Buddha, were some of the many caves
sponsored by the
Hindu Vakataka prime minister Varahadeva. Cave 17
had additional donors such as the local king Upendragupta, as
evidenced by the inscription therein. It features a large and most
sophisticated vihara design, along with some of the best-preserved and
well known paintings of all the caves. The
Vihara includes a
colonnaded porch, a number of pillars each with a distinct style, a
peristyle design for the interior hall, a shrine antechamber located
deep in the cave, larger windows and doors for more light, along with
extensive integrated carvings of Indian gods and goddesses. The grand
scale of the carving also introduced errors of taking out too much
rock to shape the walls, states Spink, which led to the cave being
splayed out toward the rear.
The paintings in Cave 17 include those of the
Buddha in various
styles, Avalokitesvara, frescoes with the story of Udayin and Gupta,
the story of Nalagiri, the Visvantara Jataka, the Hamsa Jataka, the
Wheel of life , a panel celebrating various ancient Indian musicians,
a panel that tells of Prince Simhala’s expedition to Sri Lanka.
This includes details of a shipwreck and the escape from ogresses by a
flying horse. Other notable paintings include a princess applying
makeup, lovers in scenes of dalliance, and a wine drinking scene of a
couple with the woman and man amorously seated, while attendants watch
Buddha statue in Cave 16
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was
begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned.
Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late
works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The
upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine
Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with
two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed
problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and
consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber,
with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.
Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction,
but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period,
its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather
than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was
painted, but only traces remain. Cave 9 was found between Cave 15 and
16 during debris clearance. It is a small vihara with a narrow door
opening into courtyard having three cells in each wall.
SPINK\'S CHRONOLOGY AND CAVE HISTORY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and
circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site,
which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century.
This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style,
dating of nearby cave temple sites, comparative chronology of the
dynasties, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves.
He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he
dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE",
were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for
over three centuries". This changed during the
Hindu emperor Harishena
Vakataka Dynasty , who reigned from 460 to his death in 477,
who sponsored numerous new caves during his reign. Harisena's rule
extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of
the east coast of India; the
Gupta Empire ruled northern
India at the
same period, and the
Pallava dynasty much of the south.
Panoramic view from "The Viewpoint" above the caves; the cave numbers
count up from right to left
According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates,
including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king
in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were
individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the
donation. This activity began in many caves simultaneously about 462.
This activity was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the
neighbouring Asmaka kings. Thereafter work continued on only Caves 1,
Harisena's own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta.
In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a
period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by
which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.
Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena's death in
477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26,
which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a
revolt against Harisena's son, which brought about the end of the
Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 CE major excavation by
important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues
added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there
was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful
individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make
additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They
were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to
walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single
image was ever made again at the site".
Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should
allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".
ROLE OF HINDUS IN BUILDING BUDDHIST CAVES
Ajanta Caves were built in a period when both the
Buddha and the
Hindu gods were simultaneously revered in Indian culture. According to
Spink and other scholars, not only the
Ajanta Caves but other nearby
cave temples were sponsored and built by Hindus. This is evidenced
by inscriptions wherein the role as well as the
Hindu heritage of the
donor is proudly proclaimed. According to Spink,
That one could worship both the
Buddha and the
Hindu gods may well
account for Varahadeva's participation here, just as it can explain
why the emperor Harisena himself could sponsor the remarkable Cave 1,
even though most scholars agree that he was certainly a Hindu, like
earlier Vakataka kings. — Walter Spink, Ajanta: History and
Development, Cave by Cave,
IMPACT ON MODERN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come
from, influenced painting in
Sri Lanka .
The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian
artists examples from ancient
India to follow. Nandalal Bose
experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed
him to develop his unique style.
Abanindranath Tagore and Syed
Thajudeen also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.
Shivleni Caves ,
* ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/242.
* ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed.
India through the ages.
Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
Government of India. p. 173.
* ^ The largest buddha statue in Ajanta is found in cave 19 of size
5m. The precise number varies according to whether or not some barely
started excavations, such as cave 15A, are counted. The ASI say "In
all, total 30 excavations were hewn out of rock which also include an
UNESCO and Spink "about 30". The controversies over
the end date of excavation is covered below.
* ^ Trudy Ring; Noelle Watson; Paul Schellinger (2012). Asia and
Oceania. Routledge. pp. 17, 14–19. ISBN 978-1-136-63979-1 .
* ^ Hugh Honour; John Fleming (2005). A World History of Art.
Laurence King. pp. 228–230. ISBN 978-1-85669-451-3 .
* ^ Michell 2009 , p. 336.
* ^ Ajanta Caves, India: Brief Description,
UNESCO World Heritage
Site. Retrieved 27 October 2006.
* ^ Ajanta Caves: Advisory Body Evaluation,
Council on Monuments and Sites. 1982. Retrieved 27 October 2006., p.2.
* ^ "Ajanta Caves". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
* ^ A B C D E Richard Cohen (2013). William M. Johnston, ed.
Encyclopedia of Monasticism. Routledge. pp. 18–20. ISBN
* ^ Aravinda Prabhakar Jamkhedkar (2009). Ajanta. Oxford University
Press. pp. 61–62, 71–73. ISBN 978-0-19-569785-8 .
* ^ Richard S. Cohen (1998), Nāga, Yakṣiṇī, Buddha: Local
Deities and Local Buddhism at Ajanta, History of Religions, University
of Chicago Press, Vol. 37, No. 4 (May, 1998), pages 360–400
* ^ Benoy K. Behl; Sangitika Nigam (1998). The Ajanta caves:
artistic wonder of ancient
Buddhist India. Harry N. Abrams. pp. 164,
226. ISBN 978-0-8109-1983-9 .
* ^ Harle 1994 , pp. 355–361; 460.
* ^ A B C Richard Cohen (2006). Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism,
Religion, Modernity. Routledge. pp. 32, 82. ISBN 978-1-134-19205-2 .
* ^ Walter M. Spink (2005). Ajanta: History and Development, Volume
5: Cave by Cave. BRILL Academic. pp. 3, 139. ISBN 90-04-15644-5 .
* ^ variously spelled Waghora or Wagura
* ^ Map of Ajanta Caves, UNESCO
* ^ Narayan Sanyal (1984). Immortal Ajanta. Bharati. p. 7.
* ^ Spink (2006), 2
* ^ Indian Railways (1996). Bhusawal Division: Tourism (Ajanta and
Ellora). pp. 40–43.
* ^ Harle 1994 , pp. 118–122.
* ^ Aravinda Prabhakar Jamkhedkar (2009). Ajanta. Oxford University
Press. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-0-19-569785-8 .
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 1–2.
* ^ Louise Nicholson (2014). National Geographic India. National
Geographic Society. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-1-4262-1183-6 .
* ^ A B C Walter M. Spink (2005). Ajanta: History and Development,
Volume 5: Cave by Cave. BRILL Academic. pp. 4, 9. ISBN 90-04-15644-5 .
* ^ A B C D Trudy Ring; Robert M. Salkin; Sharon La Boda (1994).
Asia and Oceania. Routledge. pp. 14–19. ISBN 978-1-884964-04-6 .
* ^ Michell 2009 , pp. 335–336.
* ^ Walter M. Spink (2005). Ajanta: History and Development, Volume
5: Cave by Cave. BRILL Academic. pp. 4, 9, 163–170. ISBN
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 4–6.
* ^ Benoy K. Behl; Sangitika Nigam (1998). The Ajanta caves:
artistic wonder of ancient
Buddhist India. Harry N. Abrams. pp. 20,
26. ISBN 978-0-8109-1983-9 . , QUOTE: "The caves of the earlier phase
at Ajanta date from around the second century BC, during the rule of
the Satavahana dynasty. Although the Satavahanas were
* ^ Nagaraju 1981, pp. 98–103
* ^ A B C Spink 2009 , p. 2
* ^ The
UNESCO World Heritage List website for example says "The 29
caves were excavated beginning around 200 BC, but they were abandoned
in AD 650 in favour of Ellora"
* ^ A B C Richard Cohen (2006). Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism,
Religion, Modernity. Routledge. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-1-134-19205-2 .
, QUOTE: Hans Bakker's political history of the Vakataka dynasty
observed that Ajanta caves belong to the Buddhist, not the Hindu
tradition. That this should be so is already remarkable in itself. By
all we know of Harisena he was a Hindu; (...).
* ^ Geri Hockfield Malandra (1993). Unfolding A Mandala: The
Buddhist Cave Temples at Ellora. State University of New York Press.
pp. 5–7. ISBN 978-0-7914-1355-5 .
* ^ Fred S. Kleiner (2016). Gardner\'s Art through the Ages: A
Concise Global History. Cengage. p. 468. ISBN 978-1-305-57780-0 .
* ^ For example, Karl Khandalavala, A. P. Jamkhedkar, and
Brahmanand Deshpande. Spink, vol. 2, pp. 117–134
* ^ Sara L. Schastok (1985). The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th
Century Art in Western India. BRILL Academic. p. 40. ISBN
* ^ Walter M. Spink (2005). Ajanta: Arguments about Ajanta. Brill
Academic. p. 127. ISBN 978-90-04-15072-0 .
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 2–3.
* ^ Richard Cohen (2006). Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion,
Modernity. Routledge. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-1-134-19205-2 .
* ^ Spink (2006), 4–6 for the briefest summary of his chronology,
developed at great length in his Ajanta: History and Development 2005.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 5–6; 160–161.
* ^ A B Richard Cohen (2006). Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism,
Religion, Modernity. Routledge. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-1-134-19205-2 .
* ^ Spink (2006), 139 and 3 (quoted): "Going down into the ravine
where the caves were cut, he scratched his inscription (John Smith,
28th Cavalry, 28th April, 1819) across the innocent chest of a painted
Buddha image on the thirteenth pillar on the right in Cave 10..."
* ^ Upadhya, 3
* ^ Gordon, 231–234
* ^ A B Richard Cohen (2006). Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism,
Religion, Modernity. Routledge. pp. 51–58. ISBN 978-1-134-19205-2 .
* ^ Cohen's chapter 2 discusses the history and future of visitors
* ^ "Tourist centre to house replicas of Ajanta caves", Times of
India , 5 August 2012, accessed 24 October 2012; see Cohen 51 for an
earlier version of the proposal, recreating caves 16, 17 and 21.
* ^ A B Harle 1994 , p. 355.
* ^ Harle 1994 , p. 356.
* ^ A B Harle 1994 , pp. 355–361.
* ^ A B Harle 1994 , p. 359.
* ^ Harle 1994 , p. 361.
* ^ A B Spink 2008
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 28–29.
* ^ Detail from this painting in the V&A
* ^ Upadhyay, Om Dutt (1994). The Art of Ajanta and Sopoćani.
Motilal Banarsidas Publisher. pp. 2–3. ISBN 81-208-0990-4 .
* ^ Gordon, 234–238; Conserving the copies of the Ajanta cave
paintings at the V&A
* ^ Conserving the copies of the Ajanta cave paintings at the V&A,
Victoria example from the
British Library (search on "Gill, Robert
* ^ Upadya, 2–3
* ^ M. L. Ahuja,Eminent Indians: Ten Great Artists, Rupa
Publications, 2012 p.51.
* ^ Caterina Bon Valsassina; Marcella Ioele (2014). Ajanta Dipinta
- Painted Ajanta Vol. 1 e 2. Gangemi Editore Spa. pp. 150–152. ISBN
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 71-72, 132-139.
* ^ Spink 2009 , p. 148, Figure 46.
* ^ Spink 2006 , p. 19.
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 201-202.
* ^ A B C D Spink 2009 , p. 132.
* ^ Schlingloff, Dieter (1976). "Kalyanakarin's Adventures. The
Identification of an Ajanta Painting". Artibus Asiae. 38 (1): 5–28.
JSTOR 3250094 . doi :10.2307/3250094 .
* ^ "horizontally bedded alternate flows of massive and amygdular
lava" is a technical description quoted by Cohen, 37
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 13–14.
* ^ Spink 2006 , p. 28.
* ^ Spink, 10; Michell 340
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 21–24, 38, 74–76, 115, 151–153, 280.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 5, 15, 32–33, 80, 249.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 5, 15, 32–33, 80, 126–130, 249–259.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 73–85, 100–104, 182.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 18, 37, 45–46.
* ^ Spink (2006), 148
* ^ A B Harle, 118–122; Michell 335–343
* ^ Spink (2006), 142
* ^ Michell, 338
* ^ Jain, Rajesh K.; Garg, Rajeev (2004). "Rock-Cut Congregational
Spaces in Ancient India". Architectural Science Review. 47 (2):
199–203. doi :10.1080/00038628.2004.9697044 .
* ^ Suresh Vasant (2000), Tulja Leni and Kondivte Caitya-gṛhas: A
Structural Analysis, Ars Orientalis, Vol. 30, Supplement 1.
Chāchājī: Professor Walter M. Spink Felicitation Volume (2000),
* ^ David Efurd (2013). Vimalin Rujivacharakul, H. Hazel Hahn; et
al., eds. Architecturalized Asia: Mapping a Continent through History.
Hong Kong University Press. pp. 140–145. ISBN 978-988-8208-05-0 .
CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link )
* ^ Born, Wolfgang (1943). "The Origin and the Distribution of the
Bulbous Dome". The Journal of the American Society of Architectural
Historians. 3 (4): 32–48. doi :10.2307/901122 .
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 12, 94, 161–162, 228.
* ^ Keith Bellows (2008). Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the
World\'s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations. National Geographic
Society. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-4262-0336-7 .
* ^ UNESCO, Brief description
* ^ Michell, 339
* ^ Spink (2006), 12–13
* ^ Spink (2006), 18, and in the accounts of individual caves;
* ^ Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1909), THE BUDDHIST AND HINDU
ARCHITECTURE OF INDIA, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Vol. 57,
No. 2937 (MARCH 5, 1909), pages 316–329
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 17, 31.
* ^ Spink (2006), 17; 1869 photo by
Robert Gill at the British
Library , showing the porch already rather less than "half-intact"
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 17–21.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 20–23.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 29–31.
* ^ Harle 1994 , pp. 359–361.
* ^ Spink 2006 , p. 29.
* ^ Jas. Fergusson (1879), On the Identification of the Portrait of
Chosroes II among the
Paintings in the Caves at Ajanta, The Journal of
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Cambridge
University Press, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Apr., 1879), pages 155–170
* ^ Spink 2006 , p. 27.
* ^ Anand Krishna (1981), An exceptional group of painted Buddha
figures at Ajanta, The Journal of the International Association of
Buddhist Studies, Volume 4, Number 1, pages 96–100 with footnote 1
* ^ A B Spink 2009 , pp. 74–75.
* ^ A B Claudine Bautze-Picron (2002), Nidhis and Other Images of
Richness and Fertility in Ajaṇṭā, East and West, Vol. 52, No. 1/4
(December 2002), pages 245–251
* ^ A B Spink 2009 , pp. 150–152.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 7–8, 40–43.
* ^ A B Spink 2006 , pp. 40–54.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 13–14
* ^ Spink (2006), 9; 140–141
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 101–103, 137–139, 184.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 9, 237–238.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 179–180, 203–209.
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 67–68.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 203–209, 213.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 209–214.
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. xii–xiii, 41–51, 70–75.
* ^ Meena Talim (2007), THE WHEEL OF "LAW OF CAUSATION" IN AJANTA
PAINTINGS, Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute, Vol.
66/67 (2006–2007), pages 245–258
* ^ Spink 2009 , pp. 201–202.
* ^ A B Spink 2006 , p. 8
* ^ A B Spink 2006 , pp. 8–9.
* ^ Spink 2006 , pp. 1–16.
* ^ Spink (2006), 4–5
* ^ Spink (2006), 5–6
* ^ Spink (2006), 6
* ^ Spink (2009), xx (quoted); Spink (2006), 15–16
* ^ A B Spink 2006 , p. 180.
* ^ The Imprint of Ajanta in Tibetan Art, Eva Fernanadez del Campo
Buddhist Himalaya: A Journal of Nagarjuna Institute of
Exact Methods, Vol. IX No. I & II (1998)
* ^ Vasudev Sharan Agrawal, Kala aur Sanskriti, 1952, p. 282-299
* "ASI": Archaeological Survey of
India website, with a concise
entry on the Caves, accessed 20 October 2012
* Cohen, Richard S. Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion,
Modernity. (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2006)
* Gordon, Sophie (2011), Monumental visions: architectural
photography in India, 1840–1901, PhD thesis,
SOAS , University of
London, PDF available
* Harle, James C. (1994), The Art and Architecture of the Indian
Subcontinent (2nd ed.), Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-06217-5
* Michell, George (2009), The Penguin Guide to the Monuments of
India, Volume 1: Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Penguin Books, ISBN
* Nagaraju, S.
Buddhist Architecture of Western
India (Delhi: 1981)
* Singh, Rajesh K. An Introduction to the
Ajanta Caves (Baroda: Hari
Sena Press, 2012). ISBN 978-81-925107-0-5
* Spink, Walter M. (2006). Ajanta: History and Development Volume 5:
Cave by Cave. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 90-04-15644-5 .
* Spink, Walter M. (2008), Ajanta Lecture, Korea May 2008 (revised
* Spink, Walter M. (2009). Ajanta: History and Development Volume 4:
Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Year by Year. Leiden: Brill. ISBN
THE FOUR MAIN SITES
FOUR ADDITIONAL SITES
* Ajanta Caves
* Burgess, James and Fergusson J. Cave Temples of India. (London:
W.H. Allen & Co., 1880. Delhi:
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt
Ltd., Delhi, 2005). ISBN 81-215-0251-9
* Burgess, James, and Indraji, Bhagwanlal . Inscriptions from the
Cave Temples of Western India, Archaeological Survey of Western India,
Memoirs, 10 (Bombay: Government Central Press, 1881).
* Burgess, James.
Buddhist Cave Temples and Their Inscriptions,
Archaeological Survey of Western India, 4 (London: Trubner Varanasi:
Indological Book House, 1964).
* Burgess, James. “Notes on the Bauddha Rock Temples of Ajanta,
Paintings and Sculptures,” Archaeological Survey of Western
India, 9 (Bombay: Government Central Press, 1879).
* Behl, Benoy K. The
Ajanta Caves (London: Thames reprint, 1907).
* Dhavalikar, M.K. Late
Hinayana Caves of Western
* Griffiths, J.
Paintings in the
Buddhist Cave Temples of Ajanta, 2
vols. (London: 1896–1897).
* Halder, Asit Kumar. "AJANTA" Edited and annotated by Prasenjit
Dasgupta and Soumen Paul, with a Foreword by Gautam Halder LALMATI.
* Kramrisch, Stella. A Survey of Painting in the Deccan (Calcutta
and London: The
India Society in co-operation with the Dept. of
Archaeology, 1937). Reproduced: “Ajanta,” Exploring India’s
Sacred Art: Selected Writings of Stella Kramrisch, ed. Miller, Barbara
Stoler (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press: 1983), pp.
273–307; reprint (New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the
Arts, 1994), pp. 273–307.
* Majumdar, R.C. and A.S. Altekar, eds. The Vakataka-Gupta Age. New
History of Indian People Series, VI (Benares: Motilal Banarasidass,
1946; reprint, Delhi: 1960).
* Mirashi, V.V. “Historical Evidence in Dandin’s
Dasakumaracharita,” Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research
Institute, 24 (1945), 20ff. Reproduced: Studies in Indology, 1
(Nagpur: Vidarbha Samshodhan Mandal, 1960), pp. 164–77.
* Mirashi, V.V. Inscription of the Vakatakas. Corpus Inscriptionum
Indicarum Series, 5 (Ootacamund: Government Epigraphist for India,
* Mirashi, V.V. The Ghatotkacha Cave Inscriptions with a Note on
Ghatotkacha Cave Temples by Srinivasachar, P. (Hyderabad:
Archaeological Department, 1952).
* Mirashi, V.V. Vakataka inscription in Cave XVI at Ajanta.
Hyderabad Archaeological Series, 14 (Calcutta: Baptist mission Press
for the Archaeological Department of His Highness the Nizam’s
* Mitra, Debala. Ajanta, 8th ed. (Delhi: Archaeological Survey of
* Parimoo, Ratan; et al. The Art of Ajanta: New Perspectives, 2 vols
(New Delhi: Books Narrative Wall
Paintings (Delhi: Munshiram
Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1999)
* Schlingloff, Dieter. Studies in the Ajanta Paintings:
Identifications and Interpretations (New Delhi: 1987).
* Shastri, Ajay Mitra, ed. The Age of the Vakatakas (New Delhi:
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar. ‘The Early Development of the Cave
26-Complex at Ajanta,’ South Asian Studies (London: March 2012),
vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 37–68.
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar. ‘Buddhabhadra’s Dedicatory Inscription at
Ajanta: A Review,’ in Pratnakirti: Recent Studies in Indian
Epigraphy, History, Archaeology, and Art, 2 vols, Professor Shrinivas
S. Ritti Felicitation volume, ed. by Shriniwas V. Padigar and
Shivanand V (Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan, 2012), vol. 1, pp. 34–46.
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar, et al. Ajanta: Digital Encyclopaedia (New
Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, 2005).
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar. “Enumerating the Sailagrhas of Ajanta,”
Journal of the Asiatic Society of
Mumbai 82, 2009: 122–26.
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar. “Ajanta: Cave 8 Revisited,” Jnana-Pravah
Research Journal 12, 2009: 68–80.
* Singh, Rajesh Kumar. “Some Problems in Fixing the Date of Ajanta
Caves,” Kala, the Journal of Indian Art History Congress 17, 2008:
* Sister Nivedita. "The Ancient Abbey of Ajanta" Edited and
annotated by Prasenjit Dasgupta and Soumen Paul, with a Foreword by Dr
Gautam Sengupta. LALMATI. Kolkata. 2009.
* Spink, Walter M. (2009). Ajanta: History and Development Volume 4:
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development of Vakataka caves,” C.S. Sivaramamurti felicitation
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Buddhist Art of South Asia, ed. Narain, A.K.
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* Spink, Walter M. “Ajanta’s Chronology: Politics and
Patronage,” Kaladarsana, ed. Williams, Joanna (New Delhi: 1981), pp.
* Spink, Walter M. “Ajanta’s Chronology: The Crucial Cave,”
Ars Orientalis, 10 (1975), pp. 143–169.
* Spink, Walter M. “Ajanta’s Chronology: The Problem of Cave
11,” Ars Orientalis, 7 (1968), pp. 155–168.
* Spink, Walter M. “Ajanta’s Paintings: A Checklist for their
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Buddha Images,” The Art of Ajanta:
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& Books, 1991), pp. 213–41.
* Spink, Walter M. “The Achievement of Ajanta,” The Age of the
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(New Delhi: Books Devotional and Ornamental
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* The Greatest Ancient Picture Gallery. William Dalrymple,