The thing to remember here is don’t come in March, that is unless you really like heat. The landscape is a stunning conglomeration of central Texas meets eastern Washington. Add in monkeys, peacocks, and cobras, and you’ve got it.
Ajanta is inserted into this rugged landscape, carved into basalt cliffs and the whole thing would look like Shangrala except that all the grass is dry and brown. The idea of raging fire wanders through my mind as I notice my guide throwing his still lit cigarette into to brush. India refuses to react to such small slights. A forest in Oregon would already burnt to the ground.
Here I have to apologize. The heat along with jetlag along with my newly acquired bronchitis have resulted in completely antipathy about delivering a solid account of Ajanta’s history. It’s old, very old. All Buddhist temples and some with very poorly maintained paintings from BC some time. It’s a tragedy. And not to be offensive but personally I’m tired of looking at Buddhas in various finger poses. When we gig to the Buddha lying down, it wasn’t without a little relief. Buddha himself was happy too, samsara being over.
Again read this with the heat in mind, but if you compared religions to amusement park riders, and the Buddhists seem to be the ones yelling: stop the ride, I want to get off!”