Details on Ajanta Caves-Technical Aspect & Theme for Rajasthan PSC Exam

Get top class preparation for competitive exams right from your home: get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves 1
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Near Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
  • Time period B. C. TO A. D.
  • An aesthetic vision and advanced technical knowledge was combined in the architects.
  • Discovered in .
  • Shaped like a crescent.
  • Entirely Buddhist
  • Chinese travelers Huan-tsung and fa-hien referred to Ajanta in their accounts.
Ajanta Caves 2
  • Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct “monasteries” or colleges.
  • The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur.
  • The majority of the caves are vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock.
  • The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around CE

1st Phase of Ajanta Caves

1st Phase of Ajanta Caves
  • Satvahana period around B. C.
  • Caves and A caves and A
  • Often called the Hinayāna phase
  • Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead.

2nd Phase of Ajanta Caves

2nd Phase of Ajanta Caves
  • Vakataka period around 4th to the 7th centuries CE
  • Most of the work took place over the very brief period from to CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vākāṭaka dynasty.
  • Caves of the second period are some possibly extensions of earlier caves.
  • Caves and are chaitya grihas, the rest viharas.
  • The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together.
  • Typically described as “Mahayana” , but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism.
  • In Mahayana, it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important.
  • Jataka tales paintings and sculpture early births of Buddha as a king , not animals etc and settings of palaces resemble the royal life of Harisena

Technical Aspects

Buddhas՚s Life
  • Carved in perpendicular steep side of the hill
  • Therefore, they do not have courtyards outside the temples.
  • Paintings technique
  • Mural paintings
  • Outline is drawn with red color
  • Fresco paintings
  • Mixture of cow dung and rice husk is spread on the surface of the caves, than coating of white lime plaster.
  • Surface is kept moist until the color is applied
  • Natural colors-primary + secondary
  • Except blue


Jataka Stories Budhha՚s Life
  • Jataka stories, incidents of Buddha՚s life.

Famous Paintings

  • The Dying Princess
  • The Flying Apsara
  • The Preaching Buddha

Elegant Cave: Cave No-16

  • The shrine has a large statue of Buddha preaching
  • Famous fresco paining-The dying princess