Ajanta Caves - Ellora Caves : Information Portal

Ajanta Caves details - Cave 9, 10, 11

Cave 9:
This cave has a Chaitya gathering hall. There are two early paintings, which survive.
Frieze Of Animals And Herdsmen
Naga Worshippers
Giant Horseshoe Window

There is a Giant Horse-Shoe Window on the façade. The carving of this window suggests that it copied a wooden structure of the same time. The pillars and the slanting eight-sided columns are also copied from wooden structures of earlier times.

Cave 10:
This is of about the same time as cave 9. It has a similar shape. The large chaitya gathering hall is 28.5m X 12.3m wide and 11m high. It has a stupa shrine at the ambulating passage around the symbolic stupa.

King With His Retinue:

The paintings in this cave show resemblance with the relief carvings at sanchi in central India of the 2nd century B.C. The painting on the left wall shows the King with his Retinue, worshiping the Buddha tree. The royal party stops at the stupa and then passes through a gateway.
On the right wall are the series of large wall paintings. One shows the Shada-danta jataka, with the Buddha in his elephant incarnation. This is a crowded scene, but each figure is clearly distinguished from the other. The whole crowd is in movement.
In one scene are shown Elephantas in the jungle, with a six-tusked elephant, which is supposed to be a previous incarnation of the Buddha. The animals are beautifully drawn and the large space of the forests, with its thick foliage and trees, is contrasted to the houses on the side.
In the second scene, the princess, seated on a stool, is shown fainting, because the six tusks of the elephant are brought to the king. The queen has wished that the elephant be killed. Now that his tusks are brought before the court, she faints at sight of them. The drama is manifestly painted.
One of the earliest masterpieces of the 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D. has the simplicity, tenderness and grace of the early archaic art of Ajanta. The gracious figure in the pink and buff cloak surrounded by green aureole is emerging to cast blessings on mankind. Two monks kneel by his feet and the flying angels above his black head indicate that they are going to lift him to heaven. The umbrella on the top is symbolic of the protection he offers to all.
The painting Buddha and the one-eyed-monk show the devotion of the followers of the Enlightened one. The face and figure of the Buddha here as well as of the monk seem to be echoes of the heavy physical types of Gandhara art of northwest India. Only the flowing draperies have softened their contours. The aureole on the buddha's head and the closed eyes show a dreamy calm.
The Shyama-Jataka on a wall in this cave relates the story of where the bodhisattava was born as son of two blind parents, a hunter and his wife.

The Buddha in shrine of cave 11 is one of the earliest images at Ajanta. The important fact about this Buddha is that it is attached to a stupa. This means a compromise between stupa worship and image worship.
This cave is interesting, because it shows the transition from the earlier Hinayana to the later Mahayana Buddhist phase of worship. The round stupa has the images of the Buddha to its bare girth.

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