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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Ajanta: Photo 19

world pictures Peninsular India: Ajanta

Remember that stain we saw on the cliff many pictures back? In the wet season, we'd need this bridge. I think I see 19 up ahead. Or is it 26? Answer: it's 26. Cave 19 is behind us. All the caves in view here, from 21 to 28, were excavated under a powerful monk by the name of Buddhabhadra.

This gets way too complicated, but the caves were usually built with donations from fatcats seeking merit. (Some things never change) There was Varahadeva, of course, and there was his boss Harisena, whose death in 478 brought construction at Ajanta to a halt. There were other donors, including Buddhabhadra, which raises another pesky question: what's a monk doing with such wealth at his disposal? Once the political structure collapsed with Harisena's death, small fry got into the picture, sponsoring single images of the Buddha wherever they could find a bit of vacant wall.

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