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Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta’s caves line a steep face of a horseshoe-shaped gorge bordering the Waghore River. Five of the caves are chaityas (assembly or prayer halls) while others are viharas (monasteries with attached residential...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 1

Cave 1, a Mahayana vihara, was one of the last to be excavated and is the most beautifully decorated. This is where you’ll find a rendition of the Bodhisattva Padmapani, the most famous and iconic of the Ajanta...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 16

Cave 16, a vihara, contains some of Ajanta’s finest paintings and is thought to have been the original entrance to the entire complex. The best known of these paintings is of the ‘dying princess’, Sundari, wife...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 19

Cave 19, a magnificent chaitya, has a remarkably detailed facade; its dominant feature is an impressive horseshoe-shaped window. Two fine, standing Buddha figures flank the entrance. Inside is a three-tiered...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 2

Cave 2 is a late Mahayana vihara with deliriously ornamented columns and capitals and some fine paintings. The ceiling is decorated with geometric and floral patterns. The murals depict scenes from the Jataka...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 17

With carved dwarfs supporting the pillars, cave 17 has Ajanta’s best-preserved and most varied paintings. Famous images include a princess applying make-up, a seductive prince using the old trick of plying his...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 10

Cave 10 is thought to be the oldest cave (200 BC) and was the first one to be spotted by the British hunting party. Similar in design to Cave 9, it is the largest chaitya. The facade has collapsed and the...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 4

Cave 4 is the largest vihara at Ajanta and is supported by 28 pillars. Although never completed, the cave has some impressive sculptures, such as the four statues surrounding a huge central Buddha. There are also...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 26

A largely ruined chaitya, cave 26 is now dramatically lit and contains some fine sculptures that shouldn’t be missed. On the left wall is a huge figure of the reclining Buddha, lying back in preparation for...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 9

Cave 9 is one of the earliest chaityas at Ajanta. Although it dates from the early Buddhist period, the two figures flanking the entrance door were probably later Mahayana additions. Columns run down both sides...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 6

Cave 6 is the only two-storey vihara at Ajanta, but parts of the lower storey have collapsed. Inside is a seated Buddha figure and an intricately carved door to the shrine. Upstairs the hall is surrounded by...

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 7

Cave 7 has an atypical design, with porches before the verandah leading directly to the four cells and the elaborately sculptured shrine.

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 24

Had it been finished, cave 24 would be the largest vihara at Ajanta. Here you can see how the caves were constructed – long galleries were cut into the rock and then the rock between them was broken through.

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 27

Cave 27 is virtually a vihara connected to the cave 26 chaitya, though it is not accessible.

Cave in Ajanta

Cave 5

An unfinished excavation, cave 5 lacks sculpture and architectural elements of note and its interiors are inaccessible. It does however have an ornate door frame depicting female figures alongside mythical sea...