Posts Tagged With: caves

Ajanta Caves of India …


In 1819 deep in the jungles of India, a man is hot on the tail of a wild tiger. Suddenly, he spots something strange in the cliffs high above him. So he climbs up to investigate… and discovers, amazingly, a secret that has lain hidden for hundreds of years. This incredible scene took place in 1819. The protagonist was British cavalryman John Smith, and on that fateful day he was out hunting in what is now Aurangabad, a district of Maharashtra in western India. Close to the Waghora River, he noticed an opening in the rocks above. Realizing that the cave looked man-made, Smith and his party scaled the rocks to take a closer look. Then he fashioned a flaming torch from grass to light his way and tentatively stepped inside. Needless to say, Smith was in for a surprise when he entered the opening in the cliffs. Indeed, he found himself in a grand hall lined with columns, its walls decorated with paintings that were faded by age. Exploring further, Smith discovered a bodhisattva – a carving of a Buddhist devotee at one of the stages of achieving nirvana. Inconceivably, but with typical colonial carelessness, he scratched his name on the body of the statue. He was, therefore, the first of many to leave his mark on what became known as the Ajanta Caves. Located 280 miles to the east of Mumbai, the caves are thought to date back to the second century BC. They consist of 30 halls and feature religious structures hewn into the rock face up to 100 feet above the river below. Experts believe that the caves were created over a period of many hundreds of years. Indeed, after the initial construction in the second century BC, work began on a second group of caves some time around the fifth century AD. The structures here were built for Buddhist monks as a place in which to live and worship. There were, for example, caves allocated for different activities, such as sleeping and education, and many monks would have been trained at the facility. In fact, it is thought that at their peak the Ajanta Caves were home to several hundred men. However, over time, Buddhism began to lose its grip on the region, and Hinduism rose to become the dominant religion once again. Consequently, the caves, with their Buddhist significance, were abandoned, and nature began to reclaim the site. So, for more than 1,000 years, the Ajanta Caves remained buried in a remote corner of India as the world changed around them. Sadly, there was nobody to watch them fall into disrepair as the years passed – apart, that is, from a few local goat herders who used parts of the caves for shelter. But all that changed with Smith and the discovery that he made in 1819. In fact, after that day the fame of the caves spread quickly throughout the world. Certainly, the stunning architecture of the caves and the exquisite artwork found within them soon established the area as an archaeological site of note. In 1844, for instance, the Royal Asiatic Society commissioned Major Robert Gill to recreate some of the stunning paintings that lined the walls of the caves. His task was a difficult one: he had to slave away in intense heat while remaining vigilant to the threat not only from tigers, but also the hostile local Bhil people. Despite such difficulties, however, Gill and his fellow adventurers discovered some incredible treasures that still draw visitors to the Ajanta Caves to this day. Suffice to say, then, that the caves, with their complex system of halls and cells, represent an incredible architectural feat. Indeed, most of the caves are vihara halls, multi-purpose spaces once used for worship, sleeping and living. Each one consists of a central space featuring a Buddhist shrine, surrounded by smaller cells where the monks would go about their daily lives. Interestingly, the first caves to be built were adorned with simple columns and painted with figures from Buddhist teachings. Later, during the second period of construction, more elaborate architecture and artwork appeared. Meanwhile, throughout the caves, thousands of beautiful images recreate stories from the lives of Buddha. For example, men, women and animals are depicted in rich and detailed scenes, painted by skilled artists who studded their work with precious stones. In what’s known as Cave One, an elaborate façade is covered in detailed carvings and reliefs. In others, meanwhile, mound-shaped shrines known as stupas create focal points. Additionally, Cave Two features a series of paintings depicting women in significant and powerful roles – leading some to suggest that a woman may have been responsible for funding at least part of the site. Today, reaching the Ajanta Caves is less of an adventure than it was 200 years ago. Since then, of course, the ropes and ladders that Gill and his contemporaries were forced to climb have been replaced by a modern path, and the caves have firmly taken their place on the tourist map of western India. Indeed, in 1983, the caves won recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, furthering their reputation as a unique and fascinating slice of history. Meanwhile, their location close to the famous Ellora Caves boosted their popularity, and by 2010 the site was attracting almost 400,000 visitors a year. These days, then, a tour of the region isn’t complete without a visit to the Ajanta Caves. And despite the site’s popularity – so great that in 2013 a Mumbai designer launched four replica caves to ease overcrowding – the haunting magic of these vast structures carved into the rock so long ago endures.

Countryside around the Ajanta Caves…
Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, artifacts, Ghost Towns, Strange News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stunning Photos Show Caves Where Ancient People Lived For Centuries Before Suddenly Vanishing


.

These stunning pictures show the caves where the ancient Anasazi people lived in America thousands of years ago.

Amateur photographer Wayne Pinkston snapped the astonishing images around the south-west of the U.S.

The pre-Columbian Anasazi civilisation lived in the alcoves because they could be easily defended.

.

But they suddenly abandoned their homes around 1300AD, and never came back.

Virginia-based Mr Pinkston said it was “enthralling” and “very primal” to “look out and see the same thing they did so long ago.”

“Being in these ruins at night is fascinating. To see the starlit sky, and be surrounded by ancient habitations where people once thrived is magical,” he wrote on his Flickr account.

.

“It’s like going back in time. The alcoves just glow with the light. You can imagine the glow of fires illuminating the ceiling and walls centuries ago,” he added.

The people lived in the area from around 200AD until 1300AD, when the disappeared.

Some researchers speculate that they migrated elsewhere, with others thinking they left because of drought.

(Pictures courtesy of Caters News Agency)

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giant Crystal Cave in Mexico under Naica Mountain.


ctcave

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caves of the Thousand Buddhas……Dunhuang, China



============================================================================
The gems of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas may not sparkle, but they’ll still take your breath away. An unassuming stretch of desert along the Silk Road in western China is home to hundreds of caves dug by monks and decorated with sculptures and paintings over the course of a thousand years. Also known as the Mogao Caves, the site is off the beaten path for most travelers to China. But it scores high on the wow scale, with nearly 500,000 square feet of intricate wall murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures.

Categories: Strange News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

mayanexplore.com

Riviera Maya Travel Guide

Cajun Food, Louisiana History, and a Little Lagniappe

Preservation of traditional River Road cuisine, Louisiana history & architecture, and the communities between Baton Rouge & NOLA

Jali Wanders

Wondering and Wandering

Southpaw Tracks

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” ~Samuel Adams

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

what's the formula?

Nurturing awesomeness: from the parents of celebrities, heroes, trailblazers and leaders

Tarheel Red

A Voice of Conservatism Living in Carolina Blue

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

dreamshadow59

A great WordPress.com site

Mike's Look at Life

Photography, memoirs, random thoughts.

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Birthplace of James Madison and Southern Plantation

Letters for Michael

Lessons on being gay, of love, life and lots of it

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

Backcountry Tranquility

A journal about my travels and related experiences :)

LEANNE COLE

Art and Practice

Lukas Chodorowicz

Travel, culture and lifestyle experienced on my adventures around the world. All photos taken by me. Instagram: @colorspark

BunnyandPorkBelly

life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. bunnyandporkbelly [at] gmail [dot] com

%d bloggers like this: