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H 245 x W 174 mm

252 pages

17 tables, 44 plates (12 in colour)

Published May 2024

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781803277172

Digital: 9781803277189

DOI 10.32028/9781803277172

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Ajanta Caves; Rock-Cut Monuments; Buddhist Architecture; Sarvastivada; Indology; South Asian studies; Buddhism; Buddhist studies; Hunnic studies

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Ajanta’s Evolution: From Sāvakayāna to Bodhisatvayāna amid Hunnic Turmoil

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

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This book offers a new scholarly exploration of the rock-cut Ajanta Caves located in the modern-day Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India, their sculpture and paintings. The book meticulously traces the rise, transformation, and legacy of these architectural marvels from the late third century BC to around AD 480.




Introduction: Basic Questions

Part I: Ajanta During the Śrāvakayāna Period – From the late third century BC to around AD 467

1. Archaeological context

2. Classification

3. Caves of Period I

4. Hiatus I and the beginning of Hunnic raids

5. King Hari Ṣeṇa and the growth of rock-cut monasteries in Period II

6. Hunnic upheaval, refugee crisis, and the spread of ideas

Part II: Ajanta During the Bodhisatvayāna Period – From circa ad 468 to 480

7. Bodhisatvayāna and Mūla/Sarvāstivāda

8. Impact of the Alkhan Hun raids and Buddhist exoduses

9. Hiatuses, sculptures, and rock-cut monuments

10. The fifth raid by the Alkhan Huns: Devastation in western & central India








About the Author

Rajesh Kumar Singh studied at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and obtained his doctorate in art history from M. S. University of Baroda. His doctoral research focused on Ajanta. Under the banner of the Ajanta Mahapitaka project, he has published six monographs and 22 articles in peer-reviewed journals to date.