Under a new title this book is an abridged edition of An Introduction to the Ajanta Caves: With Examples of Six Caves, 1st ed. (Baroda: Hari Sena Press, 2012) by the same author./This edition is focused on the paintings of Ajanta, and does away from the detailed historical developments of the caves.
The book highlights the corpus of the paintings that are currently extant on the site. It is somewhat in line with the earlier attempts by Robert Gill (1862, 1864, 1867), John Griffiths (1896-97), Gulam Yazdani (1930-55), Dieter Schlingloff (1999, 2013), and Monika Zin (2003) to accommodate the painted narratives and major non-narrative themes with corresponding illustrations and descriptive texts.
Before Schlingloff and Zin, some of the painted themes were never identified at all; some were incorrectly identified; and many were correctly identified but various events, episodes, and scenes within a particular narrative or non-narrative panel were never fully explained. Schlingloff and Zin have done so with remarkable detail. Their illustrations are drawings, which are better suited for the purpose of in-depth study. There was a need to learn the same with the help of photographs. This book serves exactly the same purpose, albeit in an abridged format.
For the first time, a book accommodates, within the space of a single volume:
• the entire corpus of the extant panels of the narrative and non-narrative themes (86 panels).
• all the latest identifications of the painted themes by Dieter Schlingloff of Leipzig University and Monika Zin of Ludwig-Maximilians¬Universitat Munich.
• short retelling of the Jatakas and other stories (86 narrative and non-narrative painted panels).
• long-exposure, low light, fine arts photography of 86 painted panels (143 colour photos).
Nontechnical language is used to help the students and general readers understand the entire corpus of the Ajanta paintings. At the same time, the content is so presented as to keep the expert readers engaged.