The Ajanta caves consist of 30 Caves dating back from 200 BC to 250 AD. These caves are situated 104 kms. from Aurangabad and 52 kms. from Jalgaon Railway Station in Maharashtra, India. The caves are cut from the volcanic lava of the Deccan in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri Hills and are set in beautiful sylvan surroundings. They were discovered accidentally by a British Captain, John Smith in 1819, while on a hunting expedition. Ajanta provides a unique combination of architecture, sculpture and paintings. Two basic types of monastic Buddhist architecture are preserved at Ajanta, the Chaitya or prayer hall (Cave Nos. 9,10,19,26 & 29) and Vihara or monastery (remaining 25 Caves). The Ajanta sculptures of the Mahayana Phase establish a formal religious imagery. While the Hinayana monuments at the site are virtually devoid of carvings, Cave l, is one of the finest monasteries and the interior paintings here, are among the greatest at Ajanta. Graciously posed Bodhisatvas namely Padmapani and Vajrapani with elaborate headdresses flank the antechamber doorway. The walls on the side of the antechamber depict the assault and temptation by Mara and the miracle at Sravasti. Scenes from the Jataka tales such as Shibi Jataka, Samkhpala Jataka, Mahajanka Jataka, and Champeyya Jataka are depicted in the walls of the cave.
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