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Introduction: Why Aurangabad?

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Chapter Summary

Twelve main caves are excavated in the slopes of the Sihyachal range branching south from the Ajanta range in northwestern Maharashtra, and they overlook an area now occupied by the sprawling city of Aurangabad. This introductory chapter provides a better understanding of many critical issues that shaped the Buddhist tradition and the art and communities of western Deccan for the first seven centuries of the Common Era. The first monograph on the caves at Aurangabad was published by Berkson (1986), who comprehended the relevance of the site. The main goal of this book is to illustrate the site with detailed photographs. The chapter simply presents the caves, with the assumption that they constitute an example of early tantric art in India.

Keywords: Aurangabad; Buddhist tradition; cave; Sihyachal range

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