The Ajanta caves are one of the most glorious and picturesque spots in the whole wide world. The Ajanta caves have 30 rock cut Buddhist caves and it is 106 km from Aurangabad. The basic designs are referred to as ' Chaitya grihas and Viharas'. Five caves are Buddhist cathedrals and the remaining 25 are monasteries.
he Chaityas are rectangular chambers separated by pillars. They are decorated by sculptures and murals which depict the various incarnations of Lord Buddha.
The Viharas are rectangular shaped halls. They have series of small cells which are attached on both sides. Opposite to the entrance is an image of Buddha. The caves include a visual form of the life of Buddha and the interesting stories from Jatakas.
CONNECTIVITY TO AJANTA: The nearest railway station is Manmad which is 120 km away from Aurangabad. Aurangabad AirportChikalthana Airport is 10km away from the city centre. Regular buses ply to and from Aurangabad.
Cave 26: A Mahayana Prayer hall(Chaitya). There is a large carved statue of Lord Buddha in the reclining form. The cave containsa stupa with an image of Buddha in the pavilion.
Cave 17: A mahayana monastery with large number of wall paintings. On the ceiling one can view maidens and celestial musicians whileone can witness Gods, Goddesses and lotus petals on the dorrway.
Cave 16: A Mahayana monastery featuring a beautiful painting of the Princess Sundari fainting after learning that her husband isgoing to become a monk and renounce the world.
Cave 15, 13, 12- Theravada monastery caves.
Cave 10: Theravada prayer hall
Cave 9: One of the earliest prayer halls noted for arched windows that let sunlight diffuse into the caves.
Cave 8: Theravada monastery cave
Cave 2 : The facade shows the kings of Naga and their entourage. On the inside one can view a mandala dominating the ceiling, held by demons and decorated with birds, flowers, fruits and abstract designs.
Cave 1: The most popular monastery cave. Every inch was painted and the doorway to the antechamber is flanked by murals of two great Bodhisattvas. On the right side holding a thunderbolt is the most important bodhisattva in MahayanaBuddhism. On the left is the Boddhisattva Padmapani holding a water lily.
Above the left porch of Cave1 are friezes of the Three Signs( a sick man, an old man and a corpse) that Buddha saw before turning into a monk.
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