Little more than two hours from the oldcity of Aurangabad are the famous Cavesof Ajanta, Thirty-two grottos that are notnatural but had been cut in hills forthousands of years by workers who hadonly used cinzéis and hammers.
The oldest cave traces to the second centurybefore Christ. Some of them are Viharas(convents) or monasteries, great chamberswith small rooms that lead off the mainroom and it was where they lived as monks.Some of these rooms have beds of cutrock, with a cushion in which monks couldrest their heads.
It is surprising to think that the greatmasters who had created these wondersused only small tools of work. Still theyhad thus bequeathed us somethinguniversal and magical that we cancontemplate today. The centuries seemlike small water drops in the Walls ofthese caves.
Sculptured in the volcanic basaltrock, the craftsmen had beenmeticulously ‘cinzelando’ the rock littleby little, cutting the columns in strategicplaces and creating some rooms inside ofthe rock. The walls and ceilings had beenwonderfully decorated and had createdcolorful paintings with plasterapplications .
In the central section (where a Christian church would have its altar) might be a great statue of Buddha. Remember that these temples of rock had been cut many centuries before the Christian cathedrals, which can lead us to speculate whether they had been the inspiration for the great architects of the Medieval Age, and not the Greek and Roman classic temples.
Sculptured in the volcanic basalt rock, thecraftsmen had been meticulously ‘cinzelando’the rock little by little, cutting the columns instrategic places and creating some roomsinside of the rock.
The remaining portion of the caves areChaityas or temples, very similar toChristian cathedrals, with ceilings‘abobodados’ with cross-ribbed woodenbeams, and with decorated pillars ofrocks. .
A Hindu familyadmires the work of its ancestor
The majority of paintings are more than 1500years old. Ten centuries before the birth ofMichelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and theEuropean Renaissance, these unknown artistsalready knew how to use perspective, depthand realism in their paintings. Theexpressions and emotions captured in thefaces of the painting are so real thattoday, after some centuries, they can still beadmired.