26 September 2022

Ajanta Cave 2

Cave 2 is an edifice of late fifth century CE. Its ground plan is similar to Cave 1, comprising a veranda, a square hall, and a shrine with antechamber. Altogether, there are fourteen monastic cells including two pillared-chambers on the either ends of the veranda. This excludes the pillared chambers flanking the shrine antechamber inside the hall.

The side-chapels of the veranda have pillared facade and separate verandas. These facades have three carved panels. On the left is a Naga King, and on the right, is the Hariti panel. Both of them are flanked by the Yakshas.

The doorway to the hall has richly carved jambs with Mithunas and other decorative motifs. There are two windows flanking it. The hall has twelve massive, elaborately carved, pillars. The shrine Buddha image is seen in dharmachakrapravartana mudra with attendant chauri-bearers. Paintings have been preserved to the maximum extent including those on the outer wall.

The themes are from the life of  the Buddha and narratives like Hamsa, Vidhurapandita, Shibi-Kapota, Bhuridatta, Prabhasa and Ruru. There are also depictions of arhats, kinnaras, yakshas, mythical beings, Bodhisattva Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara. The ceiling is painted in compartments of various designs. There are flora and fauna among other geometric and ornamental motifs.

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