The Ajanta Caves Ancient Buddhist Paintings of India

Benoy K. Behl, William Dalrymple

A revised edition of a classic title, now with digitally restored photographs, showcasing the finest surviving examples of ancient Buddhist art.

Since their chance rediscovery in 1819, the breathtaking paintings and sculptures of the Ajanta caves have inspired and delighted experts and amateurs alike. Ranging in date from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE, these ancient Buddhist artworks rank among the world’s most important cultural treasures. Benoy K. Behl captured the beauty and luminosity of these works using long exposures and natural light and now presents them here digitally restored to show the paintings closer to their original glory than ever before.

The exquisite murals, depicting the tales of previous incarnations of Buddha, scenes of princely processions, and fantastical birds and beasts, provide virtually the only evidence of painting styles that first developed in India and remain crucially important to the understanding of Buddhist art throughout Asia. On UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, the Ajanta caves survive as a potent symbol of the great beauty of India’s rich artistic past.

This new edition provides for the first time a view of some of the masterpieces of Ajanta painstakingly digitally restored by Behl. Sensitively carried out, the restoration makes the paintings clearer without interfering with their original grace and nuance, leading to a deeper appreciation of their artistry. Accompanied by expert commentaries to fully immerse the reader in the cultural context of the murals, The Ajanta Caves will help preserve the legacy of the glorious art of Ajanta for years to come.


Benoy K. Behl


Benoy K. Behl is an art historian, filmmaker, and photographer known for his tireless and prolific output of work over the past forty-six years. He has taken over 53,000 photographs of Asian monuments and art heritage and made 145 documentaries on art and culture.

William Dalrymple

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