Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, India are a Buddhist monastery complex of twenty-nine rock-cut cave monuments
containing paintings and sculpture considered to be masterpieces of both "Buddhist religious art" and "universal pictorial art" the Indian state of Maharashtra. Since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Excavation of the caves began in the third-second century B.C.E., during the period when Dakshinapath was ruled by Satavahana
dynasty, and activity at the complex continued until the fifth to sixth century C.E., when the region was
ruled by Vakatakas. Both the Satavahanas and Vakatakas were followers of Brahmanism, but also patronized the
Buddhist shrines. The walls, ceilings and columns of the caves were covered with complex compositions of
the Jataka stories (the stories of the Buddha's former existences as Boddhisattva), and ornate floral and animal
decorations. The exuberance and richness of the painting suggests that the artists were accustomed
to painting secular as well as religious works. The paintings have a natural fluidity, depth and volume
not found in later, more stylized Indian art.

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