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Ajanta and Ellora Caves 阿旃陀和埃洛拉石窟

Declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1983, the Ajanta and Ellora cavs are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art and sculpture. 阿旃陀和埃洛拉石窟于1983年被联合国教科文组织列入《世界遗产名录》,是公认的佛教雕刻艺术杰作。

Beginning with the 2nd century B.C., and continuing into the 6th century A.D., the paintings and sculptures in the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, inspired by Buddhism and its compassionate ethos, unleashed a surge of artistic excellence unmatched in human history. These Buddhist and Jain caves are ornately carved yet seem quiet and meditative and exude a divine energy and power. 阿旃陀和埃洛拉石窟建于公元前2世纪至公元6世纪,在佛教悲悯情怀的熏陶下,一批精美的壁画和雕刻横空出世,为人类历史留下了一批无与伦比的艺术珍宝。这些佛教和耆那教的石窟精雕细刻,似乎散发着神圣的力量,令人心如止水、不禁默然冥想


About 107 km from the city of Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, are the rock-out caves of Ajanta nestled in a panoramic gorge, in the form of a gigantic horseshoe. The Ajanta site comprises a set of 29 caves cut into the side of a cliff, which rises above a meander in the Waghora River, and is among the finest examples of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings and sculptures. These caves comprise 5 Chaitya halls or shrines (cave numbers 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29) dedicated to Lord Buddha and 24 Viharas or monasteries, used by about 200 Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings. The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of Lord Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. 距离马哈拉施特拉邦奥兰加巴德市107公里外,峡谷风光尽收眼底,呈巨型马蹄状的阿旃陀石窟群掩映期间。阿旃陀石窟群的29个洞窟在悬崖上开凿而成,俯临瓦戈拉河曲,是最早期佛教建筑、石窟壁画和雕刻中最为精美的典范之一。石窟群主要由5个供奉佛祖的支提(即神殿,9,10,19,26,29号窟)和24个可供200位僧侣冥想修行使用的毗诃罗(即修房)组成。装饰窟壁和窟顶的绘画讲诉着佛祖和佛教众神的生平经历。

Among the most interesting paintings are the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattava, a saintly being who is destined to become the Buddha. These elaborate sculptures and paintings stand in impressive grandeur in spite of withstanding the ravages of time. Amid the beautiful images and paintings are sculptures of Buddha, calm and serene in contemplation. Excavated beginning around 200 BC, the caves were abandoned in AD 650 in favour of Ellora. The Ajanta Caves were rediscovered by a British tiger-hunting party in 1819. 

The wall painting, profuse and sensitive, constitutes, no doubt, the most striking artistic achievement of Ajanta. Under the impulse of the Gupta dynasty (320 AD to 500 Ad), Indian art in effect reached its apogee. The Ajanta Caves are generally decorated with painted or sculpted figures of supple form and classic balance with which the name of the dynasty has remained synonymous. The refined lightness of the decoration, the balance of the compositions, the marvellous beauty of the feminine figures place the paintings of Ajanta among the major achievements of the Gupta and post-Gupta style and confer on them the ranking of a masterpiece of universal pictorial art. 

The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of the city of Aurangabad. Sculptors, inspired by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, created elaborate rock carvings. Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, Viharas or monasteries and Hindu and Jain temples. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5th and 11th century A.D., the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29). The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Known as Verul in ancient times, it has continuously attracted pilgrims through the centuries to the present day. 距离奥兰加巴德市北部26公里处,由神庙和修房组成的埃洛拉石窟群在陡峭的崖壁上开凿而成,其精妙绝伦的石刻是佛教、耆那教和印度教的杰作。34座石窟呈直线分布,包括佛教支提(即神殿)、毗河罗(即修房)及印度教和耆那教寺院。埃洛拉石窟群建于公元5世纪至11世纪,持续了600多年。其中,最早开凿的是29Dhumar Lena,最为壮观的无疑是16窟的凯拉萨神庙,将一座独立山体开凿成一座庙宇,是世界上最大的单体雕刻石窟。它在古代被称作Verul, 几个世纪以来直至今日,仍吸引着源源不断的朝圣者。

Declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1983, the paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora, are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a great influence in the development of art in India. The creative use of colour and freedom of expression used in depicting human and animal forms makes the cave paintings at Ajanta one of the high watermarks of artistic creativity. The Ellora preserved as an artistic legacy that will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come. Not only is this cave complex a unique artistic creation and an excellent example of technological exploit but also, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India. 

Getting There 
The closest railway stations are in Aurangabad for the Ellora caves (45 minutes away) and Jalgaon for the Ajanta caves (1.5 hours away). There’s also an airport in Aurangabad. It’s possible to hire a car and drive between the two cave sites. Traveling time is around 2 hours. 距埃洛拉石窟最近的是奥兰加巴德市火车站(45分钟),距阿旃陀石窟最近的是贾尔刚市(Jalgaon)火车站(1.5小时),游客也可在奥兰加巴德市机场搭乘航班。游客可租车来往两大洞窟,车程约2个小时。

Opening Hours 开放时间:
9am until sunset (around 5.30 p.m.). The Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays, and the Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Both caves are open on national holidays. 9:00——日落(17:30左右). 阿旃陀石窟周一不开放, 埃洛拉石窟周二不开放. 两大石窟在法定假日均对外开放