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The Beginnings At Aurangabad

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Chapter Summary

The caitya cave 4 at Aurangabad is the only cave that reveals indications of the first phase of occupation of the site. The caitya halls in particular have consistently worked as 'guide fossils': by mapping the caitya layouts, decorations, and epigraphs, elaborate chronologies of the cave complexes have been formulated. In all the timelines formulated to date, the caitya halls of the western Deccan are sequenced like domino pieces on the bases of their inscriptions, ornamentations, ground plans, and presence of wooden architectural elements. Archaism, or the conscious re-use in caitya architecture of outmoded or old-fashioned elements, is a trend closely related to regionalism which has also been overlooked in the scholarship. The Aurangabad complex, together with Ajanta and Pitalkhora, formed a well-defined cluster of cave sites excavated on different sides of the Ajanta range located at the crossroads of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.

Keywords: Ajanta; Archaism; Aurangabad; caitya cave; Pitalkhora



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