DAILY PHOTO: Ajanta Sanctuary

Taken on November 19, 2014

Taken on November 19, 2014

There are two types of caves at Ajanta; chaitya-grihas (a.k.a. sanctuary, prayer hall, or meditation hall) and sanghārāmas (a.k.a. vihāras or monasteries.) This is an example of the former, of which there are only a few. In fact, it (cave 26) is the most ornate of the Ajanta sanctuaries. Sanctuaries are distinguished by domed roofs and the presence of a stupa, which is a monument that is typically dome-shaped but need not be so flashy as this one–sometimes they are simply mounds. The sanctuaries also have fanlights (like a transom) that bring in more light than the monasteries.

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Cave 26 also houses the carving of the reclining Buddha that I’m presently using for my header image.

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