Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 23rd January 2014, 20:06   #1
BNR
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10
Thanked: 33 Times
Default Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

I have always wondered how travelogues are accomplished. To me, it’s daunting to say the least. I’ve always wondered how one takes pictures while driving, makes notes and remembers to click pictures each time one gets into a situation... sticky or otherwise.

Perhaps there could be a ‘How to’ thread on the process of writing striking travelogues and have the stalwarts like Nilanjan, laluks, hvkumar, SDP, Fauji, Mannuj, Coolcaat and so many able others contribute towards its demystification. I have been a reader on this forum to the point of being an addict, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to contribute. Most times, I feared I would seem silly and other times, the my exact thoughts would be put across so well by a fellow BHP-ian that I’d go - "Gosh! That’s exactly what I was thinking".

This time however I decided to dive in. The endeavor too was appropriate - a small outing that wasn’t so demanding for a travelogue (or so I thought). I believed it could be a small step to prepare me towards eventually matching up to the standards of this forum. The option of disappearing into oblivion was always there if I failed to live up!


I love to travel. If I can, I will. So when the idea to take off for a few days presented itself, in came virtual travel, discussions and places. I went thru a few options like : Junagadh (750kms), Hampi (750kms) before deciding on Aurangabad (380Kms), thanks to the proximity to Mumbai and the leisurely pace that it involved, given the time I could spare for the trip. Typically for me, the idea of less is more was a given: so it was day each at Ajanta, Ellora and another couple of days to drive up and down from Mumbai.

Did I mention - photography has always been the reason for any and every of my excursions! Every time I take time off from my professional work and self-assign myself a subject I haven’t ventured on before, I find myself completely enchanted and it leads me to wonder - why don't I do this more often?! I love the whole exercise of planning, research, shooting and shooting again. I always find myself returning from a journey seeing something new that I was blind to, until then. The joy is in the entire process of it – the journey, as it were. The final outcome is, well, what it is!

As we all know – photography is all about ‘light’ and the magic that it creates on a subject – animate or otherwise. But it suddenly struck me that in choosing my subject – the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, I was eliminating this most important aspect of photography! Going inside a cave, knowing I cannot expect much either in the quality of light or the quantity, knowing that I cannot carry a tripod (due to the heritage nature of the site), to shoot handheld despite the low light conditions – all of these daunting thoughts strangely excited me. I was all set for lots of blurs and shakes and grainy pictures, the only solace was that the forms and figures I intended to capture would stay absolutely still!

So what would I do? Well, pray and shoot (child’s play)… And hopefully get lucky…!

Cave 1: Bodhisattva Vajrapani - one of the earliest Boddhisattva is the protector and guide of the Buddha and rose to symbolise the Buddha’s power. The lotus hand of Vajrapani (holder of the thunderbolt Scepter) signifies compassion and protection to every disciple on the way to enlightenment.

Name:  Ajanta549.jpg
Views: 4796
Size:  506.3 KB

The drive from Mumbai to Aurangabad was extremely Zen-like - Louis Amstrong, ambling conversations, long breaks in between with no hurry whatsoever to get to the destination – just the way I like it! My seven-year-old 1,30,000 km driven Ford Fiesta (now Classic) was the trusty chariot I rode. I took the Mumbai-Pune Expressway until Vadgaon, then on to Chakan - Shirur - Ahmednagar - Aurangabad which is largely a four-lane highway. There weren’t any untowardly exciting moments that happened, no traffic jams or accidents or breakdowns, just what the doctor ordered!

Name:  Screen Shot 20140123 at 7.24.14 pm.png
Views: 3852
Size:  369.3 KB

On a time approximation - it took me 9 hours (breaks inclusive) to reach point to point. I never exceeded 110kms per hour and was largely in the 90-100kph zone. I think anyone else could easily do this in 7 hours.

I happened to have a brief chat with a tourist car driver who drove from Mumbai to Aurangabad via Nashik, and strongly recommended the same route back and this only endorsed my return drive plans. Not that I was thinking otherwise.

Stay was at Lemon Tree Aurangabad.

http://www.lemontreehotels.com/lemon...FUcB4godAgoAAA

AJANTA:

Despite all the pictorials and text available on the internet, nothing prepares you for the impact of seeing the wall paintings of Ajanta in person. I wonder how such spectacular leaps of creativity was achieved in those days. (We are talking about 2nd century BC to 6th century AD) The continuity of thought, the compositions, the story telling, the colours, the figures and forms, the implementation and the artistic excellence – all achieved with primitive tools - are breathtaking… just masterful. Also, there’s the fact that it is also not one person who creates the mural or the sculpture. This is done over generations! And all this done inside a cave, which meant hardly any light while creating them. Today, centuries later, thousands flock on any given day to marvel at their creation. And it shall outlive all of us, centuries beyond! The very thought seems to put life and art into complete perspective.


Cave 26: At the feet of the enlightened One – the Buddha’s feet under the Bodhi tree, in his final resting state.

Name:  Ajanta455.jpg
Views: 3947
Size:  343.4 KB


Portions of Jatakas (previous birth of Buddha) are artistically and ingeniously painted on the walls

Name:  Ajanta559.jpg
Views: 3928
Size:  408.2 KB


Cave 17: The Royal Procession

Name:  Ajanta239.jpg
Views: 4290
Size:  408.2 KB


Cave 26: The walls of the ambulatory are carved with scenes of The Buddha’s life and miracles including the ‘Temptation by Mara’(demon)


Name:  Ajanta497.jpg
Views: 3626
Size:  239.5 KB


Cave 26: The extensively carved stupa of Buddha, the teacher

Name:  Ajanta288.jpg
Views: 3477
Size:  286.0 KB


The teaching Buddha - gesture of turning of the wheel of dharma, representing the Buddha’s teachings

Name:  Ajanta255.jpg
Views: 3523
Size:  300.6 KB


Dharmachakra Mudra: The gesture of turning the wheel of dharma.

Name:  Ajanta494.jpg
Views: 3289
Size:  252.7 KB


Cave 19: Details of exquisitely carved facade of the chaitya with intricate details of many Buddha figures in relief.

Name:  Ajanta321.jpg
Views: 3325
Size:  324.6 KB


Murals: Bodhisattva with aspirants.

Name:  Ajanta63.jpg
Views: 3501
Size:  361.3 KB


The Naga kings asks his daughter to fulfil his wife’s cravings for the heart of Vidhur the wise prime minister of Kuru

Name:  Ajanta26.jpg
Views: 5412
Size:  511.4 KB


Cave 4: the serene sculpture of a larger than life Bodhisattva as a Reliever of the Eight Great Perils inside the largest ‘vihara’(monastery)

Name:  Ajanta136.jpg
Views: 3329
Size:  295.4 KB


Cave 19: The impressive chaitya (shrine) hall encompasses the tranquil standing Buddha at the centre of the stupa

Name:  Ajanta413.jpg
Views: 3792
Size:  323.6 KB


Cave 26: The Reclining Buddha. Buddha attaining parinirvana(the final dead state) thus being the liberated ‘self’ and achieving eternity

Name:  Ajanta447.jpg
Views: 3682
Size:  300.1 KB


The Caves have been lit with fibre optics and the intensity of the lights is pretty well taken care of, but the placement of the lights leave a lot to be desired.

The caves of Ajanta are an authentic example of our Buddhist Indian History. Unfortunately though, their conservation remains a challenge.


A quick read on that: http://www.ijsrp.org/research-paper-...jsrp-p2370.pdf and http://www.ijser.org/researchpaper%5...-of-Ajanta.pdf

While I rejoiced at the stunning beauty all around me, a few sightings saddened me. I understand that Buddhism as a culture is not as widespread as Hinduism in this part of the world, but to see young boys whistling, shouting, climbing up besides the statues to photograph themselves was appalling. Would we do this in a temple? Don’t we realize that this is a shrine? Don’t we understand that we are in a heritage monument that we are privileged to even stand amidst? This lack of culture amidst all the culture around was a sad reminder that we lack the ethos to nurture our treasures.
I also saw people taking photographs with a flash knowing they aren't supposed to. I can’t fathom why one would do that.
BNR is offline   (12) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2014, 07:12   #2
BNR
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10
Thanked: 33 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

ELLORA


Over 2 kms long and over 2000 year old, Ellora caves is essentially divided into 3 phases. Buddhism (caves 1-12), Hinduism (Caves 13-29) and Jainism (Caves 30-34)

It is just amazing to see that art that was created centuries ago - I say that again, CENTURIES – still have people from all over the world flock to see it. Tourism in Aurangabad is defined by these creations, and that in turn supports thousands of livelihoods across all strata of society… from the fancy 5-star hotels to the people who sell stone necklaces outside these shrines!


It’s ironical then, isn’t it, that art is considered a poor profession and artists are seen as lesser impactful than other conventional professionals, when it is these artists that live on forever thru the art they have created.

However the lack of care and disrespect towards the art is so disenchanting. Hopefully, we as a society shall grow more aware and get sensitized towards preservation of the abundance of natural and artistic wealth our country has been bestowed with.


Cave 2: Picture perfect main shrine with Buddha seated in the Bhadrasana pose
Name:  Ellora86.jpg
Views: 3169
Size:  216.3 KB


Cave 2:An unfinished sculpture of Buddha in the Bhadrasana pose
Name:  Ellora61.jpg
Views: 2997
Size:  257.9 KB


Exquisitely carved columns with Dwarapalas guarding the main sanctum
Name:  Ellora145.jpg
Views: 2941
Size:  236.7 KB


Cave 4: Broken colonnade housing a seated Buddha flanked by a dwarpala
Name:  Ellora165.jpg
Views: 3107
Size:  323.2 KB


Cave 10: The musical cave with an impressive 30 pillar colonnade witnesses a huge serene teaching Buddha, seated in the Bhadrasana pose on a lion throne. He is flanked by two Bodhisattavas and celestial couples all carved against the stupa, which serves as an ornamental background.
Name:  Ellora308.jpg
Views: 3542
Size:  244.5 KB


Cave 16: Beautiful inlay of Hindu demigod on the wondrous monolith
Name:  Ellora845.jpg
Views: 2989
Size:  276.1 KB


Cave 16: Sensuous ‘Apsaras” gracefully adorn the massive columns creating poetry in the rocks
Name:  Ellora862.jpg
Views: 2904
Size:  283.4 KB


Cave 16: Dancing feet of the mighty Natraja
Name:  Ellora708.jpg
Views: 2931
Size:  273.4 KB


Cave 32: Intricately carved pillars of the Indra Sabha contains a verandah flanked by chapels, a big hall, an antechamber and sanctum. Inside the small sanctum is seen the image of Lord Mahavira seated on a Lion throne with a fly whisk bearers on both sides and umbrellas over his head.
Name:  Ellora739.jpg
Views: 7432
Size:  299.2 KB


Cave 32: Ornately sculpted yaksha (male earth spirit), probably Matanga, associated with Mahavira guards one side of the large balcony of the Indra Sabha. The Yaksha guardian,Matanga sits on a grand elephant who has knelt to offer his back as a seat for the yaksha. The sculptor has placed a lotus bud in the trunk of the elephant to show his docile nature in the presence of this yaksha protector
Name:  Ellora560.jpg
Views: 2889
Size:  231.5 KB


Cave 29: Gigantic dwarapalas and apsaras guarding the main shrine the seat of the destroyer transformer Shiva.
Name:  Ellora523.jpg
Views: 3135
Size:  228.5 KB


Cave 21: The majestic Ganesha, part of the Saptamatrika(The Seven Divine Mothers) takes his place as the first worshipped one.
Name:  Ellora252.jpg
Views: 2926
Size:  254.0 KB


As I come to an end of my first-ever (and hopefully lucid) travelogue, here’s a question I’d like to pose to my fellow BHPians. What is your state of mind when you return from a trip? Are you also assailed by a strange sense of solemnity and a tinge of sadness as you leave behind the destination you had so happily driven towards merely a few days ago? Do you, like me, go silent on the drive back, living and reliving the moments of the trip? And is your solution to travel-melancholy planning one more trip even while you are ending the first?!
While I wait for your answers, here’s to all the roads that stretch out in front of us with endless possibilities!
BNR is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2014, 13:25   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ghaziabad
Posts: 1,007
Thanked: 760 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Great thread and Pics. I like your choice of B&W photography. I personally feel it brings out Depth beautifully, better so than in color.
roy_libran is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2014, 13:43   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 234
Thanked: 286 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

If anyone is interested in the paintings and wish to see them in print, get yourself The Ajanta Caves: Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India - Benoy K. Behl. It's a phenomenal books with ravishingly beautiful color pictures of the most prominent paintings. You wouldn't be disappointed.
Mudhalaipatti is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2014, 15:19   #5
Distinguished - BHPian
 
mpksuhas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: KA03/KL11
Posts: 2,716
Thanked: 3,301 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Amazing pics. Great work with black & white.

This is the second Ajanta & Ellora travelogue in past week or so. Thanks to you and Vibbs now the caves are in my must see list.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 24th January 2014 at 15:21.
mpksuhas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2014, 16:14   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pune
Posts: 327
Thanked: 162 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Excellent photographs. I have been to both the places which I prefer to spell Ajintha (अजिंठा) and Verul (वेरूळ), which are their native names, and I know how challenging the photography there is.

For those interested in historic constructions, if you are visiting Ajintha, there is one ancient temple at a village called Anwi slightly off the way to Ajintha. My travelogue has more information:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-ajintha.html (Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha)

(Although called Anwa in web references, someone told me the right name of the place is actually Anwi.)

Last edited by mayuresh : 24th January 2014 at 16:16.
mayuresh is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th January 2014, 13:49   #7
BNR
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10
Thanked: 33 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
Great thread and Pics. I like your choice of B&W photography. I personally feel it brings out Depth beautifully, better so than in color.
Thank you, roy_libran and yes B&W does have its own charm, doesn't it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Amazing pics. Great work with black & white.
This is the second Ajanta & Ellora travelogue in past week or so. Thanks to you and Vibbs now the caves are in my must see list.
Thank you, mpksuhas. You must and if I may suggest, try for a week day and you may just escape the busloads of school children and touristy crowd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayuresh View Post
Excellent photographs. I have been to both the places which I prefer to spell Ajintha (अजिंठा) and Verul (वेरूळ), which are their native names, and I know how challenging the photography there is.

For those interested in historic constructions, if you are visiting Ajintha, there is one ancient temple at a village called Anwi slightly off the way to Ajintha. My travelogue has more information:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-ajintha.html (Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha)

(Although called Anwa in web references, someone told me the right name of the place is actually Anwi.)
Thank you, mayuresh.
Went thru the temple thread at Anwa. Very interesting.
BNR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th January 2014, 15:34   #8
BHPian
 
VLOCT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 558
Thanked: 606 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Superb pics, BNR. Keep the travelogue going.
VLOCT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2014, 13:41   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 8
Thanked: 0 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Enjoyed the thread, thank you for sharing. The pictures are really good and my 2c to keep you motivated to continue to write your travels as your narrative is really good. While the pictures will capture the image, the words will capture your thoughts and leave an impression on whoever reads this, albeit from your thought process, which is not a bad thing as this I believe is a forum for self expression and sharing.
Tin7262 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2014, 12:49   #10
BHPian
 
Diesel_convert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 146
Thanked: 149 Times
Thumbs up Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

If you want a little more detail, this Youtube channel has a lot of info, please watch his talks on the murals of India -part II , it's an eye opener that we had such art in India!


http://www.youtube.com/user/buddhistfilms?feature=watch

Last edited by Diesel_convert : 27th January 2014 at 12:54.
Diesel_convert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2014, 13:14   #11
BHPian
 
tabrez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 115
Thanked: 117 Times
Default Re: Art for Posterity: Ajanta & Ellora Caves

The black & white of these photo's has definitely captured the varied nuances of these
carvings that couldn't have been justifiable by color. You may not be a pro with camera
but just this one little trick has encompassed your pictures with untold beauty. If there
are more you could share, please bring them on & let our eyes feast upon them
tabrez is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help for Ajanta Ellora Trip manaa45 Route / Travel Queries 55 6th September 2016 12:03
Bhopal-Ajanta-Ellora-Mahabaleshwar-Konkan-Shirdi-Bhopal columbus Route / Travel Queries 28 6th October 2015 17:30
Bangalore -> Pune -> Mahabaleshwar -> Lonavala -> Shirdi -> Ajanta & Ellora ashwinsid Route / Travel Queries 24 22nd September 2014 11:28
770 Kms, 3 days & a glimpse of a Bygone Era: Ajanta and Ellora Caves vibbs Travelogues 24 19th January 2014 13:45
Bangalore to Aurangabad (Ajanta-Ellora-Lonar-Daulatabad) kishor_narayan Route / Travel Queries 27 5th November 2011 18:52


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 07:52.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks