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General view of Ajanta Caves XVI-XXVII from the ravine below

General view of Ajanta Caves XVI-XXVII from the ravine below

Photographer: Gill, Robert

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1865

Shelfmark: Photo 125/1(11)

Item number: 125111

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the general view of Caves 16-27, Ajanta. The thirty magnificent cave temples of Ajanta are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora river in West India and consist of prayer halls (chaityas) and monasteries (viharas), built for the Buddhist community who lived there. The first group was excavated between the 2nd - 1st century BC. After a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the 5th century AD in the Vakataka period which coincided with the Hinayana and Mahayana phases of Buddhist art. The caves are numbered 1-28 according to their location on the cliff and not chronologically. They consist of monasteries and prayer-halls used by a community of Buddhist monks who resided there. The later caves contain very rich sculptures and paintings which are unparalleled in the history of Indian art.

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