the final days and home

My last full day in India was spent at Ajanta and I have to say that I disagree with the Lonely Planet on another front. They say that if you have to chose, Ellora wins over Ajanta hands down and maybe it’s just me and my personal spiritual inclinations, but I found Ajanta completely mind stopping. The setting is a beautiful escarpment in a sort of valley of low lying dry rocky hills and cut into the horseshoe shaped cliff are about 20 something large caves which are carved into shrine halls and meditation rooms with exquisite detailed pillars and buddha statues, but the real marvel is the remnants of the detailed paintings which covered every square inch of wall and ceiling at that time. The bits that remain show incredibly detailed depictions of the buddha’s life and stories and you can still see the bright colours that were used, all from natural dyes and lapis lazuli.

Despite the crowds, noise and tourist bustle, I found the caves deeply moving and peaceful. What a marvel that in the 5th century, without the technology and tools, that was possible. The amount of skill and work that went into that place is unbelievable, and I wonder what happened to the people that must have lived and practiced there? What caused them to abandon the place, when the final cave was still incomplete?

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