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Ajanta Caves details - Cave 1

This cave is the first we come across. It is attributed to the 6th -7th centuries. There are auspicious motifs on the doorway of cave 1: loving couples, river and tree Goddesses, flying dwarfs and Floral Scrolls.


The Great Buddha Image inside is thus approached from a pleasant doorway, seen from different angles the Buddha looks different. The Naga guardians at the base are stylistically related to the larger guardians in cave 20.
There is a Goddess at the upper left corner of the shrine doorway on cave 1. Her auspicious presence is radiant through the grace of the carving. She represents the earth, as she leans by the flowering tree,. She symbolizes the waters, by the Makara figure on which she stands. She is serene and intimate at same time.
There is a lovely Cherubic Dwarf, flying through the clouds, bearing a garland of flowers to the great Buddha below. Such image are carved to focus the devotee's eye on the central image.
The Boddhisattva on the right of the Buddha image in the shrine may be a Padmapani Avaokitesvara, who holds the lotus, though this is not certain here. the figure on the left of the Buddha image is generally Vajrapani, who hold the thunderbolt. the lotus of Padmapani symbolizes grace the thunderbolt in the hand of Vajrapani indicates force.
One of the wonders of this cave is a relief carving of four deer. This is a clever composition. All the four deer seem distinct, even though they share one head in common. The bodies seem real, as they have been carved from accurate observation of their forms.
The pilaster on left end of the porch in cave 1 is related to those of cave 19. The pilaster in cave 1 being simpler, probably came earlier than the elaborate ones in cave 19, The pilaster on the left front interior in cave 1, is more elaborate than on the left end of the porch. The medallions have swan and Makara floral design.
The famous painting Bodhisattva Padmapani is on the left wall as we enter. This is a famous picture. The Bodhisattva, or potential Buddha, is here shown as an elegant prince. He wears a high crown with precious stones in it. On his neck is a pearl necklace, with a central big blue stone. In his right hand, he holds an open lotus, suggesting awakening, with his gracious bent head and his golden body, the almond eyes and the delicate eyebrows, the figure is almost feminine.
There is another well-known Bodhisattva Vajrapani with a tiara-like crown of jewels on his head. This potential Buddha may be near portrait of some donor prince of the 6th century.
The Lovers in the same caves were probably painted to attract pleasure -loving patrons. The taboo against sex desire, of the earlier times, seems to have gone by this time
The beautiful Dark Princess in profile may also be a portrait of an Andhra Princess. She is heavily bejeweled, with a delicate filigree tiara on her black hair.
Another picture shows the Dancing Girl with musicians. This group scene is almost like a big painting in Bagh Caves near Ujjain, in Central India, of the7th century A.D.
One of the late lovely figures in this cave is that of a Princess reclining against a pillar. She approximates to the Indian ideal beauty: 'moon-breasted, swan-waisted, elephant-hipped' .She wears an intricate visual crown, large earrings and five-rowed necklace. Her lungi is woven with a typical pattern of horizontal floral details. She looks like a lovelorn young girl, waiting for her beloved.
This is a study of a young girl, a maid in a sad mood, seated on the ground, Her right hand holding her head with its intricate coiffeur. She is probably a servant girl. Her shapely limbs are rendered with great skill. Her Jewelry shows that even the common people of that time had an instinctive love of decorating themselves.
On a wall on the right hand side, as we enter, is a scene showing the Persian Embassy. This is supposed to be a picture of a real happening in the court of Pulakesin ll. As Pulakesin ll ruled towards the end of the 6th century, the painting confirms the date of cave no.1 as of the 6th century A.D.
The Golden Geese, Pink Elephant, Bull Fight:
The Golden Geese, The Pink Elephant and the Bull Fight suggest that all living things are one. The pictures in cave 1 are skillfully done. And they are pretty pictures. They emphasize happiness. Obviously they were painted to attract visitors.

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