Exotic is not the word which can describe the majestic charm of Ajanta. It is bound to leave a person breathless. The caves of Ajanta are like a moving canvas – holding the moments in those paintings in an eternity. The moment I entered the first cave, time seemed to stop and draw me away back to the times of Buddha – a living legend. The characters in the paintings were all so lively, the expressions so dramatic, that one cannot help but stoop in front of them with awe.
The calm, soothing eyes of Padmapani, in his firm decision to heal the pain of this world; the pleading princess Shivali so that her husband Mahajanaka does not renounce the throne; the frailty of ‘the dying princess’ (wife of Nanda) after coming to know about her husband’s decision to renounce throne; all are so drenched in pathos…
Mayadevi, the mother of Buddha, comes to hear about a prophecy that the son she is bearing, will either become a great warrior or a world renowned prophet. She doesn’t know how to react, and her intent happiness is revealed in the shy smile on her lips. Her eyes are downcast, and she is playing with her fingers. Her back rests on the wall as she folds one leg against it for support. Her immense surprise, contentment, glee are blended with a calm and solitude demeanor; utterly graceful she was, she is, and will be, till the time she is also eroded into oblivion like most other paintings of Ajanta.
Krishna apsara, with her intoxicated half-closed eyes, gorgeous ornaments, and a lovely head gear, is considered to be the most beautiful woman of Ajanta.
Eerundati, with her calm and curious composure when she meets Punyak, her beloved, all are painted with so much care and delicacy. One cannot be left surprised at the skill of the artist who gave a thought to superimpose moments to create a cinematographic effect here. On the right Eerundati is seen on a swing, swaying merrily. Just to the left, a handsome Punyak halts with his horse, to have a second look at the beautiful princess, who, on seeing him approaching, descends from the swing and greets him with a graceful air.
The male figures are again drawn so delicately; the gait, the soothing composure of Buddha in his different reincarnations, left me speechless.
I was left awestruck, thinking about the people who had carved out all the thirty caves of Ajanta, with so much patience, perseverance and care!
We went to the cave-temples of Ellora as well; but my mind is still so full of Ajanta, that I’m not being able to write anything about
Ellora. Again I have to go back to the depths of those caves – the elegance of Kailash temple, the marvelous sculptures of all the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves, in order to be able to write a few lines about them as well…