Ajanta Cave 17 – Mahayana Vihara or Buddhist Monastery

Share This Article
Ajanta Caves; cave paintings; India; uasatish;
Beautiful Ceiling in Cave 17

Ajanta Cave 17 is full of paintings depicting Jataka tales. The tales originated in India and narrate stories from Buddha’s previous lives. The paintings are more than 1,500 years old and in a better condition than in other Ajanta caves.

Ajanta Caves; India; Arangabad; cave paintings; uasatish; Shadanta Jataka;
Shadhanta Jataka Ajanta Cave no 17

Architecture

Ajanta Cave 17 has a colonnaded portico with paintings on the wall and ceiling. The cave features a large central Vihara with pillars on the sides. There is a shrine at end of the hall. Large windows and doors let in light.

Small dormitory cells are cut into the walls. Extensive carvings and sculptures of gods and goddesses are integrated into the structure. The walls and ceiling are full of beautiful and well-preserved paintings depicting Jataka Tales.

Ajanta Cave 17; Ajanta Caves; India; Aurangabad; cave paintings; uasatish;
Prince Trying to Cheer Up His Distressed Wife

Stories of Jataka

Jataka Tales originated in India and pertain to the previous births of Gautama Buddha. These are among the earliest Buddhist literature, dating to 4th century BC. The literature describes early incarnations of Buddha in human or animal form.

India; Aurangabad; cave paintings; uasatish; Hasti Jatakka;
Hasti Jataka

Jataka tales are the forerunners to the various celebrated biographies of Buddha. They have been translated into many languages from the original Sanskrit.

Ajanta Cave 17; Ajanta Caves; India; Arangabad; cave paintings; uasatish; frescoes in portico;
Frescoes in the Portico

History of Ajanta Cave 17

An inscription on the wall of the courtyard records that a prince under Vakataka King Harisena (460-477 A.D.) excavated the cave. Although the caves in Ajanta are more than 2,200 years old, Harisena commissioned and developed most of them during his reign. The most beautiful caves were created during the seventeen years. Wealthy patrons abandoned construction activities after the death of Harisena on 31 December 477.

India; Arangabad; cave paintings; uasatish; 3 D paintings;
Paintings in 3D

The caves later fell into disuse. A British army officer of Madras Regiment re-discovered the caves in 1819. Madras Regiment is the oldest infantry regiment of the Indian Army, formed in the 1750s. The caves became famous for its exceptional architecture as well as paintings over the next few decades.

Ajanta Caves; India; Arangabad; cave paintings; uasatish; 3D paintings;
Three Dimensional Paintings

Paintings in Ajanta Cave 17

The paintings in Ajanta Cave 17 by and large depict the Jataka tales. The cave has 30 major murals. The paintings illustrate Buddha in different forms and postures.

The frescoes portray many tales. They cover themes as diverse as a shipwreck, a princess applying makeup, lovers in scenes of dalliance and a wine drinking scene of an amorous couple.

Some paintings have fasinating three-dimensional effects. The same painting when viewed from a different angle appears dissimilar.

India; Arangabad; cave paintings; uasatish;
Ancient Paintings

If you liked the post, you could…

Join more than 5,000 fans of UASATISH by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Related posts: