The Ajanta Caves are 29 (approximately) rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India.[note 1] 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 the Indian art that followed. The caves were built in two phases, the first phase starting around the 2nd century BCE, while the second phase was built around 400–650 CE, according to older accounts, or in a brief period of 460–480 CE according to later scholarship. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250-feet wall of rock. The caves also present paintings dep...