It was one of those times in Pune during summer 2013, when my University classes were having sleepy hours, I got liquid cash owing to some clerical works and was having an intimate rapport with a travelogue.My aunt arrived,we decided to explore the heartlands of Maharashtra.Along with my friend Sreyashi(a wanderlust), the trip began with three Bong Viagero.Later our dear friend Nawras and Papula joined us.With wide roads, streamlined curvy Sahayadri Mountain in front of me and a comfortably cushioned Neeta Volvo Push back seat on my back..the journey began.Forty minutes into the journey, our vehicle stepped into a ravishing rural Maharashtra.With small hills and hillocks on the background, covered with green patches, long streaches of sweet corn plantation, a well maintained State highway, and some country music (John Denver) on my Panasonic headphone, it was the most soothing experience to heart, mind and body. Our Vehicle reached ‘Aurangabad’, thanks to Mrs Mousumi Gupta’s managerial skill we got a decent accomodation.After a cozy sleep in the morning next day we got into a white Innova.The journey to historic Ajanta Caves thus began. Traversing through the blackpitched road, stuffing my mouth with Kurdish styled Papula’s sandwich, black raisin and dried fruits from Kurdistan we finally covered 40km, reached a checkpoint and got into a Maharashtra tourism bus.The bus journeyed through a dense forest patch (reminded me of Tirupati roads), an anorexic stream was following us.I preferred to gallop on a white horse.The spot where we reached had a sign “UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.Completely disconnected from the world, sorrounded by high hills on three sides, a pollution free world, a place freezed in time.Sreyashi ,my alltime friend disappeared only to appear with tickets, a great traveller indeed. Aha, What I saw was a lifetime scene.A streched mountain , with well craved monasteries. The black stones were carved to make sculptures.Let me tell you about the caves, you have to cover 100 steps to get into a certain platform, on the right hand side you have the caves, on the left hand side the same slim trim stream peeping through greenery.The caves have been etched of a cliff, which is on the southern portion of the U shaped magnet deep gorge, on that same stream (Waghori river).There were almost 28 caves with varied archetectural structure. Filled with Stupas, Chaityas, various scenes from the Jataka tales have been drawn.
Gautam Buddha was in a reclined manner in cave no 26.The peaceful aura in his eyes is magical.The caves are the greatest evidence of Indian Wall Paintings.I noticed closely, the caves are of two varieties. One representing Satvahana Period and another Vakataka Period. OK, let me tell you there is a basic difference in Buddhism, the Mahayana and Hinayana, and it was very much evidential in the architectural pattern.Restoration process was in progress in some caves, loathed the temperament of some tourists, for them every spot is a picnic spot seemed so busy in clicking the so called selfies, neglecting the engineering and artistic achievement of our forefathers.
You have to take out your footwear to step in, the rooms were dark (may be they have a dark secret).However ASI (Archeological Survey of India) provided with soothing dim light.The heat was taking a toll on me, thanks to my retro goggles and base ball cap..I survived.I was so much engrossed in studying them, I realized I have lost contact with my group.I saw Sreyashi showcasing her photography skill to Nawras.Being from the region of Mesopotamia (grandhouse of civilization), they were accustomed with Budda (my friends never pronunced |h|).However the diverse range of artistic production with so much detailing over Buddhist philosophy surely made them feel with a deep sense of Joy..(Now I wish to study Islam also..from a very authentic source ). I photographed various statues of Shakyamuni characterised by grand hairstyle, serene looks and those deep eyes, surely Prince Siddharta as a living person must have been a real magician.Just look closely in his eyes, it provides you with an enigmatic sense of peace.The paintings have been executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the so called tempera technique. I took a close look, some images resembled Helenic and Roman school of paintings.If you are acquainted with Chinese period flicks, then you can possibly draw some parallel with Mongolian style. It took almost four hours to complete all the caves, a fine natural scenario- a milky waterfall gushing like bullets into the rocks.
Accompanied by naughty monkies, bumbling photographers, duty free miniature statue seller and fruit vendors, finally we took a long walk towards postmodern India.And what’s next, we were back in Innova in order to return to the city of Gates.Do I need to say, that I was highly impressed by Indian Cave paintings and Sculpture- marvellous in conception brilliant in execution.Don’t you dare to miss it.See you folks at Ellora.photographs:Nawras Garib, Mousumi Gupta, Sreyashi Gupta, Papula Star Baban and Debraj Moulick
N.B- do carry Sunglass, cap, waterbottles and wide angle lenses