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the many-splendoured delights of Ajanta compiled by Subramanian Swaminathan


September 2007

Ceiling Paintings

For reasons unknown, the Ajanta artist did not paint religious themes on the ceilings. But expert workmanship is evident. These drawings have taken the texture of a carpet, brilliantly woven, captivating the eyes and filling the senses.

One of the themes is the huge concentric circle enclosed in a square, with number of flowery bands within it.

Cave 2

Hariti shrine, Cave 2

Main hall, Cave 17

Another equally cherished theme consists of a number of rectangular panels filled with decorative motifs framed by smaller squares or rectangles with representations of fruit and floral forms.

Animals & Birds

Cave 1

Reclining Bulls, Cave 17

In Lighter Vein

Cave 2

Cave 1

The most intriguing and least expected in a religious shrine are the scenes depicting a king in his harem

and friends enjoying each other's company with wine!