A testament to rock-cut art, there’s more to Ajanta and Ellora than meets the eye. Sometimes, it’s the people who make the journey to the caves to pay their respects that elevate the experience.
Photographs KRISHNA PRABAKAR T
When you think of art and architecture in Maharashtra, the Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad spring to mind. A wonderful example of expert craftsmanship, the 32 caves at Ajanta and 34 at Ellora offer visitors the opportunity to witness rock-cut work in all its glory.
Both the complexes house Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monuments, resulting in an interesting amalgamation of styles. With detailed murals and motifs, it comes as no surprise that Ajanta and Ellora have gripped the attention of locals and travellers since the time they were hewn out of the rock in the 2nd century BCE and 600 CE, respectively. When I visited, I found people around me exploring every inch of these caves and trying to capture its beauty in photographs and on video. While there are many reasons to visit these caves, one in particular stood out for me.While I strolled through the complex with my camera at the ready, I noticed a few people standing in front of statues and caves, lost in prayer. A few of them had prayer beads that aided their soft chanting, while others just bowed their heads and joined their hands, unbothered by the hustle and bustle around them, waiting patiently for others to make the most of their photo-op. It served as a reminder that Ajanta and Ellora is not just a historical site, but a sacred one too. As odd as it might sound, it was people-watching at Ajanta and Ellora that truly enabled me to appreciate the beauty and serenity of this architectural marvel.