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The Aurangabad Renaissance In The Fifth Century

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Chapter Summary

Excavation activities stalled for several centuries at Aurangabad after the caitya hall was cut in the second part of the first century CE. As older cave sites on the Ajanta plateau were expanded and updated during the fifth century CE, new modes of patronage, religious values, and ritual forms swept over the Buddhist communities. The first question to be tackled when addressing the renewal of rock-cutting activities at Aurangabad is whether the gap in patronage observed at this site corresponds to an actual hiatus in Buddhist activity. While some architectural and artistic features found in the fifth century Buddhist caves of the western Deccan may be traced back to Gandhara, most of what we see in these rock-cut complexes is entirely the product of local elaboration. Some of the iconographic developments we see at Aurangabad indicate the presence of developed Mahāyāna elements in the western Deccan.

Keywords: Ajanta plateau; Aurangabad; Buddhist caves; Mahāyāna



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