The Ajanta caves were carved out of the face of a cliff by Buddhist monks between the 2nd century BCE and about 600 CE. They contain an astonishing number of beautiful and colorful wall paintings, sadly largely detiorated, .
1Ajanta Wish I could remember the name of this young who was our "assistant" during the tour, carrying water and helping us out generally.
2Ajanta Western tourists at Ajanta.
3Ajanta Entrance to cave no. 1.
4Ajanta Inside cave no. 1, a large vihara (monastery), with cells arranged around it and paintings everywhere.
5Ajanta Dunkel ist mein cave
6Ajanta A magnificent, tho worn fresco, in cave no. 1. In fact, they are not frescoes, as they were painted on a dry wall, not on wet plaster.
7Ajanta A painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani.
8Ajanta Also in cave no.1, Bodhisattva Vajrapani.
9Ajanta Looks like some sort of court scene.
10Ajanta The Ajanta caves
11Ajanta Columns, sculptures and painting on the entrance verandah outside cave no. 2
12Ajanta Sculpture beside the entrance to cave no. 2
13Ajanta Painting on the ceiling of the verandah to cave no. 2
14Ajanta The caves are carved out of the rock on the outer wall of a U-shaped valley.
15Ajanta This is probably cave no. 4. Note the barely finished ceiling, where you can see the traces left by the carving tools.
16Ajanta Bodhisattvas guarding the door to the Buddha's sanctum
17Ajanta The huge seated Buddha here is magnificent.
18Ajanta Tourists with the huge Buddha
20Ajanta Langur in a tree next to the path
22Ajanta Another, less expressive Buddha
23Ajanta Another Buddha in his richly decorated shrine
24Ajanta Entrance to cave no. 9, with its chaitras of different sizes and imitation woodwork
25Ajanta Cave no. 9 is a chaityagriha, or prayer hall
26Ajanta Entrance to the chaityagriha, cave no. 9
27Ajanta A couple of Korean Buddhists in cave no. 10, the earliest chaityagriha at Ajanta, dating from the 2nd century BCE
28Ajanta Colorful paintings on the pillars
29Ajanta Colorful pillar painting
30Ajanta Painted pillars and ceiling
31Ajanta Ancient elephant and elephant-loving tourist
32Ajanta Looking back down the cave cliffs
33Ajanta Many paintings around the entrance to cave no. 17
34Ajanta Wall paintings on the facade and ceiling
35Ajanta Seated naga king outside cave no. 19
36Ajanta Cave no. 19 is a lovely chaityagriha (prayer hall), much more richly decorated than the earlier cave no. 17
37Ajanta Wall carvings in cave no. 19
38Ajanta Wall carvings in closeup
39Ajanta Highly decorated interior of chaityagriha
40Ajanta The other side of the valley and the observation point (we did not visit)
41Ajanta The impressive entrance to cave no. 26, a large chaityagriha
42Ajanta Entrance to chaityagriha (cave no. 26)
43Ajanta Large Parinirvana Buddha, over 7 m long
44Ajanta Almost baroque-looking sculptures
45Ajanta Frieze in cave no. 26
46Ajanta Gorgeous pillars and decoration
47Ajanta Bougainvillea and rock temples
48Ajanta The last monkey we saw at Ajanta, swinging from what looks like an acacia
49Ajanta Setting sun lights up pointy Rajasthan haystacks along the road home.