If you were to ask tourists to India to name their greatest sights, or the one that they would like to visit, the chances of anyone saying ‘Ajanta‘ or ‘Ellora‘ are remote. In fact, I would argue that most Indian tourists themselves might not have it high on their bucket list. And that is a shame, for I believe that these are the greatest treasures in India.
I admit that there are lots of places in India that I am yet to see, but the caves at Ajanta (and Ellora) were easily the most awe-inspiring and moving sights of all the places that I have visited. The mind boggles to think that some of these caves were excavated, carved and painted over 2,000 years ago! They should rank high on the list of must-visit sights in India and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen them.
For people who would like to read and know more of these stupendous sights in Western India, here are a few resources that I came across recently:
The Ajanta Caves – a great introduction to the Ajanta Caves
Vignettes of Ajanta and Ellora – a virtual tour of some of the highlights of these caves
The Life and Times of Walter Spink – Walter Spink was an American researcher and professor, who dedicated over 60 years of his life to the study of the Ajanta Caves. This page provides details of his work. There is also an excellent film on the same site.
Meet The Man who is Digitally Conserving the Ajanta Cave Paintings – Ajanta is a place that inspires dedication. We saw that with Walter Spink. Another person who has spent years at the site capturing the paintings carefully on (digital) photographs is Prasad Pawar.
I hope reading these articles will make you add this place on your list of places to visit!