AJANTA is world's greatest historical monument recognised by UNESCO far near from Jalgaon city of Maharashtra, India. There are 30 caves in Ajanta of which 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries. These caves were discovered in AD 1819 and were built up in the earlier 2nd century BC-AD. Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century BC-AD and some of them about the fifth century AD and continued for the next two centuries. All paintings shows heavy religious influence and centre around Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.

The carvings and the murals in the Ajanta depicted the contemporary society of that period. These artistic pieces showed all kinds of people from kings to slaves, women, men and children interwoven with flowers, plants, fruits, birds and beasts. There are also figures related to the people of that time, some of them are 'Yakshas', 'Kinneras' (half human and half bird) 'Gandharvas' (divine musicians) and 'Apsaras' (heavenly dancers). Discovery The enchanting Ajanta caves were discovered accidentally by a company of British soldiers in the 19th century. Before the excavation of these caves they were hidden under the thick vegetation for a long time.

The Caves
The incredible caves of Ajanta are dedicated exclusively to Buddhism. There are around 30 caves here and are divided into 'Chaitya-Grihas' (stupa halls) and 'Viharas' (dwelling halls). Around five of these caves (9, 10, 19, 26 and 29) are 'Chaitya-Grihas'. The rest of the caves are 'Sangharamas' or Viharas (monasteries). The caves 1, 2, 16 and 17 are important from the art point of view. They are great pieces of art compared to the contemporary art world. These caves have exotic paintings illustrating the life and incarnations of Buddha. The carvings and the paintings of the Ajanta caves tell us about the imagination and creativity of the artist. The murals on the walls of these caves are still in a good condition, maintaining the freshness of the color and spreading vibrancy in the atmosphere. Visitors will definitely enjoy watching these great historical pieces of art.

The Viharas     
The Ajanta caves were divided into several viharas (dwelling halls) and chaitya-grihas (stupa halls), scooped out of the sloping rocks in the fifth century CE. The viharas consisted of a broad verandah. The roof of this verandah was supported by pillars and giving towards the interior on to a hall averaging in size about 35 ft. by 20 ft. Also there are dormitories to the left, right and back , opening on to this hall. The number of dormitories varied according to the size of the hall, and in the larger ones pillars supported the roof on all three sides, forming a sort of religious residence running round the hall. There is also a shrine of lord Buddha in a niche facing the entrance and sometimes facing the subsidiary shrines to the right or left of the entrance. With the help of carvings, the facades of the viharas were decorated and the paintings adorned the walls and ceilings.