Imagine being thousands of miles from home. You’re exploring a far away land, looking to make your mark on the world. While exploring, you stumble across something so fascinating that your mind can barely comprehend what you are seeing. Well that must be how British Officer John Smith felt when he came upon something from his wildest dreams. In April of 1819, his discovery came while chasing animals through the Indian jungle outside of Mumbai. What he discovered changed the history books, and is probably one of the biggest accomplishments in his life. Check out the amazing discovery he made!
Hunting a Tiger in the forest outside of Mumbai is a pretty badass story in itself. What happened next to John Smith is pretty extraordinary though.
Out of nowhere, he came upon an opening to a cave. Something seemed very deliberate about the opening of the cave. Almost as if it wasn’t naturally made. As any person who was just in the middle of chasing a Tiger through the jungle would do, he decided to explore.
When he stepped inside, he was suddenly in a completely different world. Man made carvings lined the walls. This place was definitely the product of humans.
Ornately carved walls of stone lined the entrance way, but this was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to what John Smith had discovered.
When exploration of the area was finally done, this is what was found. This place looks like something straight out of a book or movie. These are known as the Ajanta Caves!
A sprawling expanse of old temples and shrines carved into the stone.
The experts who studied the caves believe they were built somewhere around 200 BCE! That is an extremely long time ago!
Each of the 30 chambers has its own uniquely carved and decorative entrance.
The temples are thought to have been used as a retreat for Buddhist monks during the incredibly dangerous monsoon season.
These entrances are absolutely amazing. They are clearly planned, but still give off the feeling of natural formation.
The carvings on the walls are truly one of a kind. It’s amazing how you can still see so much detail.
It is believed the temples and shrines were abandoned around the 7th century. They are still considered a sacred place for locals however.
It is thought that the temples were built to align with the solstices and other cosmological events.
Caves 19 and 26 actually do perfectly align with the summer and winter solstices. This is partly what gave rise to the theory.
When the light hits the temples just right, it illuminates the interior, and creates a one of a kind setting for exploring.
Exploring these vast temples and chambers would be an incredible experience. If you are trying to explore the culture of an area, what better place than one like this to do it in. With the age of this place, the memories it holds must be vast. I couldn’t think of a better place to go if soaking in culture is what your all about.