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Ajanta and Ellora


    In the 4th and 5th Century A.D. Buddhists monks, used the caves found on the stony mountains of the Maharashtra state (in the Western India) as their place of stay and meditation. Ellora is famous for its sculptures and Ajanta for its paintings.

    At Ellora the huge Kailasa Temple is hewn from a single solid rock. This was done to picture "Kailasa", the heavenly mountain abode of the Hindu God Shiva. The temple is placed on a high base, which was decorated with carved elephants and lions, which appear as though they are carrying the temple on their backs. The temple is decorated with stories taken from the Hindu mythology, carved into the stone walls.

    Near the Kailasa Temple, the rock caves are highly decorated with sculptures. These caves were used as Buddhist monasteries and prayer halls. Every available space in the caves, the walls, pillars, roofs are all full of beautiful sculptures carved into them.

    The Ajanta caves are also Buddhist Sanctuaries carved of granite Cliffs on a 72 foot high ravine (stone) in the Wagurna River Valley. There are about 30 caves, excavated between 1st Century B.C and 7 Century A.D. Though the Ajanta Caves are also noted for their sculptures they are famous for the paintings done on the walls and ceilings. The techniques of these paintings were similar to fresco.



    The rough stone wall was covered with a layer of clay mixed with strawl. This was smoothed and covered with a layer of gesso (fine white clay). The painting was done on this. The paintings are mostly of Buddha, Bodhi Sattvas, musicians, goddesses, apsaras, etc. Metal mirrors were used to reflect sunlight into the caves.
































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