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Ajanta, a UNESCO world heritage site, is famous for its Buddhist rock-cut cave temples and monasteries with their extraordinary wall paintings. The temples are hollowed out of granite cliffs on the inner side of a 20-meter ravine in the Wagurna River valley, 105 km northeast of Aurangabad, at a site of great scenic beauty. About 30 caves were excavated between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE and are of two types, caityas ("sanctuaries") and viharas ("monasteries"). Although the sculpture, particularly the rich ornamentation of the caitya pillars, is noteworthy, it is the fresco-type paintings that are the chief interest of Ajanta. These paintings depict colorful Buddhist legends and divinities with an exuberance and vitality that is unsurpassed in Indian art. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]
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