★Ajanta Caves★


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Description Quiz

T/F Quiz

Multiple Choice Quiz

Pre-reading Questions:
1. Have you ever been in Ajanta?
2. What country is Ajanta in?

Ajanta Caves

Inscribed :1983 Criteria: C (iii)

Brief Description:
  • The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence.

    〜Reading Passage〜

    AJANTA (more properly AJUNTHA)

    (1) The caves are in a wooded and rugged ravine about 3 J m from the village. Along the bottom
    of the ravine runs the river Wagura, a mountain stream, which forces its way into the valley over a bluff on
    the east, and forms in its descent a beautiful waterfall, or rather series of waterfalls, 200 ft. high, the sound
    of which must have been constantly audible to the dwellers in the caves

    These are about thirty in number, excavated in the south side of the precipitous bank of the ravine, and vary from 35 to 110 ft. in elevation
    above the bed of the torrent. The caves are two kinds of dwelling-halls and meeting-halls. The former, as one enters from the pathway along the sides
    of the cliff, have a broad verandah, its roof supported by pillars, and giving towards the interior on to a hall averaging in size about 35 ft. by 20 ft.
    (2) To left and right, and at the back, dormitories are excavated opening on to this hall, and in the centre of the back, facing the entrance, an image of the Buddha usually stands in a niche. The number of dormitories varies according to the size of the hall, and in the larger ones pillars support the roof on all three sides, forming a sort of cloister running round the hall. The meeting-halls go back into the rock about twice as far as the dwelling-halls; the largest of them being 945 ft. from the verandah to the back, and 415 ft. across, including tic cloister. They were used as chapter-houses for the meetings of the Buddhist Order.

    (3) The caves are in three groups, the oldest group being of various dates from 200 B.C. to A.D.2oo, the second, group belonging, approximately, to the 6th, and the third group to the 7th century A.D. Most of the interior walls of the caves were covered with fresco paintings, of a considerable degree of merit, and somewhat in the style of the early Italian painters. When first discovered, in 1817, these frescoes were in a fair state of preservation, but they have since been allowed to go hopelessly to ruin. Fortunately, the school of art in Bombay, especially under the supervision of J. Griffiths, had copied in colors a number of them before the last vestiges had disappeared, and other copies of certain of the paintings have also been made. These copies are invaluable as being the only evidence we now have of pictorial art in India before the rise of Hinduism.  


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  • Notes









    Web Sites
    Tourismof India:English Site
    Indiatravel Info:English Site
    Budhist Sites:English Site
    Ajanta:India: Japanese Site

    ♪India Information

    Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
    Area comparative: slightly more than one-third the size of the US
    Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
    Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromites, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
    Population: 1,014,003,817 (July 2000)
    Life expectancy at birth: total population; 62.5 years (male: 61.89 years ,female: 63.13 years 〔2000〕)
    Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5%, other 0.4%
    Capital: New Delhi
    Independence: 15 August 1947 (from UK)
    Currency: 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise
    Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1 - 43.552 (January 2000), 43.055 (1999), 41.259 (1998), 36.313 (1997), 35.433 (1996), 32.427 (1995)

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    by Jinju Hamasaki, Aoyamagakuin College of Economics

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