Pictures from a weekend trip, February 2010.
The first group of caves are Buddhist, starting with very simple spaces, but later more decoration
and, as here, structure imitating contemporary wooden temples. (c. 700AD)
Hindu: this is the Kailash temple, one of only two free-standing ones. Some traces of white paint
remain, the name was from its glowing like its namesake snowy mountain. (c. 750AD)
Finally there are a series of later Jain temples, newest (c. 900AD) and most decoratively carved,
These older caves are famous for having much more painting intact, perhaps thanks to
being overgrown and lost for a more than a millenium, from c. 500 until 1819.
This is the famous painting of Padmapani (and my travelling companions). Clearer pictures of the former here or here.
An unfinished cave
One of the few reclining Buddha statues...
A fort nearby with a long history: first the base of the Hindu rulers of the Deccan, then from about 1300 an
outpost of the Delhi Sultanate, which after many changes of hands fell to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
in 1633. His son Aurangzeb moved the centre into town, re-named Aurangabad for the occasion.
I was told that this tower, the Chandminar (1435), is leaning slightly, to the right, and that
that's why we couldn't go up. Sometimes it looked like it was.
After a deep moat, crossed only by a low-level bridge which could be flooded,
there was a dark vertical maze up into the castle. (Both are now avoidable.)
A temple the guidebook calls Jamma Masjid. Built in 1318, using columns from older
(Hindu and Jain) temples on the same site, and now a temple once more.
The Bibi-ka-Makbara, Aurangzeb's son's 1660 imitation of his grandfather's more famous mausoleum,
on the edge of town in peaceful geometric gardens.
And a gate in his city walls, built in 1681 to keep out the Maratas.
Which they did, until the States Reorganisation of 1960.
Astonished Eyes .net
Photos by Michael Abbott