Ajanta Caves (1983)

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The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence.
  • India 1949. Sculpted Panel from the Ajanta Caves.  Scott # 207. 

The Ajanta Caves is a group of about 30 caves carved out of the sides of a steep ravine in east central India, in Maharashtra State (formerly Hyderabad), near the village of Ajanta. The caves, discovered in 1819, are famous for their frescoes, and also contain a significant amount of sculptural work. 

India 1949. Sculpted panel from the Ajanta Caves.

India 1971. Bodhisatva Padampani. Painting from the Ajanti Caves.

The caves were painted between the 2nd century BC and the 7th century AD. These historic wall paintings trace the development of painting styles during that time. 

Most of the wall paintings are based on the Jatakas (stories of the former lives of Gautama, the Buddha), or on events in the life of the Buddha. The feeling of the kinship of all living things, which plays so large a part in Buddhism, is apparent in all the paintings. 

Their astonishing liveliness, their rich and subtle colors, and the consummate skill of their execution make them the supreme monument of Buddhist painting in India. 

  • India 1971. Bodhisatva Padampani. Painting from the Ajanti Caves. 

The adjoining Ellora Caves, also a World Heritage Site in India, have not been depicted on stamps. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in India (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, India-section, for further information on the individual properties. 


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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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