This is a short summary of one of the articles from Webzine SILKROADIA VOL.4 NO.1. For more specialized information, please download our Webzine, and read "Ajanta: A Glistening Gem of Indian Cave Art" written by Vivek Mohan, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, India.
Archaeological sources are generally devoid of any references to sites of worship throughout most parts of ancient India. It was only under Buddhism that architectural monuments containing exquisitely created artefacts with enormous aesthetic value were apparent in viharas (Buddhist monks’ living quarters) and stupas (Dome-shaped Buddhist shrine). Huge halls or chaityas and vast venues of worship for big congregations became an intrinsic element of the faith. One such masterpiece relates to that of Ajanta caves.
The Ajanta paintings mark a watershed moment in the history of Indian cave art. With the rise of the Guptas, there was a proliferation of Hindu faith, which resulted in a significant growth in ‘Hindu’ architectural activities. Barring a few exceptional cases, patronage for Buddhism decreased gradually. The decline of Vakatakas was another blow for Buddhism in India, which saw a drastic increase in violent attacks against Buddhist adherents and monuments. Today, these caves are a repository of our traditions, art, architecture, and religion, all of which serve as a beacon of harmony and peace for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, despite its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site and its ability to elicit intellectual and popular interest, efforts to preserve it have fallen 151 far short of expectations.
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