Photograph of the stereoscopic view with an Indian figure posed in the foreground, of the Valley of Lenapur, up which winds the road to the Ajanta Caves, taken by Robert Gill in 1868. In 1819 a group of tiger-hunting British soldiers discovered the Ajanta caves in the jungles of a ravine. The magnificent cave temples 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 caves were in use for about eight centuries and can be divided into two groups according to the early Hinayana and later Mahayana phases of Buddhist art. The first group was excavated between the 2nd - 1st centuries BC. After a period of more than six centuries the excavations restarted around the 5th century AD in the Vakataka period. The caves contain some of the finest wall paintings of Indian art which are important both for their technical mastery and wide-ranging subject matter as well as the magnificent sculpture. They are a unique surviving testimony to the achievements of Buddhist art in India.