General view of Buddhist Caves I-IX, Ajanta
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of caves I-IX, Ajanta taken by Robert Gill c.1868-70. Ajanta is situated in the modern state of Maharashtra. The Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta were excavated into a horse-shoe shaped cliff overlooking the Waghora River in the 2nd – 1st Century BC and later in the 5th Century AD, a period of time which coincide with the Hinayana and Mahayana phases of Buddhist art. They were found by accident by Captain John Smith on a hunting trip but were not documented properly until the middle of the nineteenth century. The caves are numbered I-XXVIII according to their location, not chronologically. They consists of monasteries and prayer-halls used by a community of Buddhist monks who resided there. The later caves are very rich of sculptures and paintings which are unparalleled in the history of Indian art. This view is taken facing east.