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DESIGNING MONKS

Aurangabad, Ajanta & Ellora

Aurangabad, as its name suggests has a strong Muslim flavor.  It dates back from the time of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.  Many Mughal monuments can be seen in and around the city.  The most noted is Bibi ka Maqbara the mausoleum of Aurangzeb's Begum.  It was intended to be a replica of the Taj but suffers from all the defects of second hand art.

Ajanta and Ellora:  Long forgotten and rediscovered by chance in 1819, the cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora, surely rank amongst the wonders of the ancient world.  Here, over a period of 1,400 years - between the second century B.C. and twelfth century A.D. great armies of monks and craftsmen carved cathedrals, monasteries, temples and frescoed sculpted halls into the solid rock face of the Western Ghats. Working with the simplest of tools and an ingenious system of reflecting mirrors to provide them with light, they cut away hundreds of thousands of tons of rock to create the cave temples.   The caves of Ajanta, carved into the hillside, are famous for their frescoed interiors. The caves of Ellora were carved out from the granite hills, the most famous of which is the magnificent monolithic Kailasa Temple. The temples span three great religions- Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain.

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