|I visited Ajanta and Ellora Caves in India. These caves were chiseled out of rock, taking an incredible amount of time to make the temples at these sites. The Ajanta Caves are a Buddhist antiquity and have become a World Heritage site.These caves were made in two phases: the first period and later periods. It is generally said that the caves of the first period were carved during the period between 100 BCE and 200 CE, and that the later caves were made from the latter part of the fifth century into six century.
Inside the caves, cut into the cliff, pillars and a statue of Buddha were curved from the living rock. In this way, the rock made into pillars, the statue and the cave chamber are all connected. It means that the statue of Buddha was curved along with the cutting of the cave itself – truly an excessive amount of work. Here, I could feel the incredible power of humans.
We often hear a sculptor of Buddhist images say, “Buddha in the tree, all I do is the carving.” When seeing a low-lit statue of Buddha in the innermost part of the cave, I felt that Buddha was inside the mountain rock, and was chiseled out over a long period of time.
In front of the statue of Buddha, inside the dark cave, I sat in meditation on the cold rock floor. I gave my thoughts over to the Buddhist monks of ancient India who had lived there for ascetic training. In awe, I pressed the shutter button for each photograph, as if saying a prayer.