Aurangabad Caves, located on a hill about 2 kilometers north of Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, consists of 12 rock-carved Buddhist shrines, which are divided into three groups, each 500 meters away from others. Caves 1 to 5 are on the west side, while caves 6 to 9 are on the east side of the same mountain. The third group of caves, including caves 10 to 12, are located further east. The history of Aurangabad caves can be traced back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD to the 7th century AD. The cave, carved into the hillside of soft basalt, is an admirable building with the highest degree of finely sculpted form of classical Indian art.
Aurangabad Cave Temple:
Aurangabad cave, planted between the Sahyadri and Satara hills and watered by the Dudhana River, is a common tourist attraction. Its structural carvings are spectacular and are living evidence of Buddhist settlement, dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
Pillars of Beauty:
Inside the cave are ancient pillars, beautifully carved. They are a testimony to the beautifully carved architectural works of that era.
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Aurangabad Cave 1 is one of the earliest excavations dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century. This is an unfinished vihara or monastery with a collapsed ceiling on the balcony. Due to the harsh nature of the rock formations, the cave has a low rate of preservation, which also prevented large-scale excavations.
Cave 2 is a square shrine that resembles a traditional Buddhist temple. At its center is a Buddha statue sitting in a meditative pose, surrounded by several other Buddha statues that can be seen adorning the walls on either side.
In the middle of the cave is a large shrine dedicated to the Buddha. The shrine is surrounded by beautifully carved columns that support the ceiling. At the rear is a carved shrine with the Buddha depicted in a standing position, rising to the ceiling is a perfectly shaped dome with round beams. A place like this can only bring peace and tranquility.This is also known as Aurangabad Buddhist Cave
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Aurangabad Cave Flying:
Another sculptural masterpiece in Aurangabad caves is the beautiful immortal or flying sky famous in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. They adorn cave walls with timeless artistic and sculptural splendor.
Cave 6 shows beautifully carved women with exotic hairstyles and decorative ornaments. Prominent at the center of the carving is the towering figure of the Buddha. This cave with cells on both sides contains a shrine and is marked by columns on balconies and porches.
Cave 7 is considered the most glamorous, with its ornate jewels and scantily clad female figures a clear sign of the existence of Tantric Buddhism in this era. Cave 7 also includes a shrine surrounded by an outer corridor. The promenade is made up of niches with sculptures of various Buddhist deities displayed at intervals. On the balcony, the entrance to the shrine is flanked by beautiful depictions of Avalokitesvara and Bodhisattva.
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The Aurangabad Caves, hidden by the Ajanta Caves and the Ellora Caves, are still a delight to watch. It is a reminder of the original glory of the Buddhist religion at that time. Although many caves remain unfinished due to the dangers of loose rock, for the most part this monolithic sculpture has survived the sands of time.