The Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state in India. The caves include paintings and rock-cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art.
The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 75-metre (246 ft) wall of rock. The caves also present paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths of the Buddha, pictorial tales from Aryasura's Jatakamala, and rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist deities.
Textual records suggest that these caves served as a monsoon retreat for monks, as well as a resting site for merchants and pilgrims in ancient India.They were covered by jungle until accidentally 'discovered' and brought to Western attention in 1819 by a colonial British officer Captain John Smith on a tiger-hunting party.
Ajanta Caves exemplifies one of the greatest achievements in ancient Buddhist rock-cut architecture. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ajanta caves is one of the major tourist attractions of Maharashtra.