The Discovery It was the year 1819; the Sun was shining bright in the sky and a group of young British officers are walking through the forest on a hunt. They are joking and talking when one of them spots a tiger and the chase begins. The officers give chase. Their feet are pounding the ground and the tiger runs down a valley.
The British officers reach the bottom of the valley and find themselves confronted by rich vegetation. The valley is like paradise… there are monkeys swinging from the branches… birds singing… the rushing flow of the river. The officers are struck by the peace and beauty of the valley and investigate further.
Across a valley, they saw a line of rock ridged with watercourses and protected by a lush green cover. Their curiosity was aroused and they ventured to investigate. Little did they know that behind an innocent curtain of wild foliage lay a treasure beyond their wildest imagination.
These are the Ajanta caves, paying tribute to a glorious past and the invincible spirit of man. They are some of the finest examples of rock-cut temples in the world and, indeed, a pioneering endeavour in the whole of Asia.
The History The Buddhist Caves of Ajanta, located in Maharashtra, were built from 200BC to 600AD almost 300 years after the death of The Buddha, when the reverence of its followers had reached its peak. These caves and their sculptures were developed over 800 years. For almost 1200 years then, they were abandoned and forgotten. Interestingly, its isolation contributed to its excellent preservation in which some of the remarkable paintings remain to this day.
Though initially conceptualized to house the monks, these caves eventually developed as a part of a highly sophisticated, graphically rich culture that evolved for over a thousand years.
Moving through the caves, one can actually experience the time warp and the evolution of story telling through the visual medium. Ajanta is a three-dimensional canvas, capturing the changing forms of art, culture, architecture, attires, jewelry, fashion, culinary rituals painted in the most earthen Indian colours.
About This Film This documentary takes us back in time. We feel the peace and tranquillity of the ancient monastery while we see breath taking images of painting and sculpture. Most of the caves are now closed to photography and the images you see here are rare.
The film explores the historical, technological and ecstatic value of the caves and their sculptures and paintings.
The DVD is a must have if one is interested in ancient history, is a traveller, or just a student of life.
The Ajanta Caves are listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.