Although I personally favor the caves at Ajanta because it was the location my research project focused on the caves at Elephanta come at a close second. Elephanta was the first place we visited in India and it was not at all what I was expecting. As Reyna had mentioned in her presentation and what I believe is the most powerful part of our entire experience in India was that we truly had no clue as to how big everything we studied was we arrived at the sites in person. Like Professor Kaimal I enjoyed looking that the rock art of Shiva slaying Andhaka because of the large amount of masculinity that Shiva is showing. Shiva is at the center of this art and is seen holding a large sword in his right hand and the bowl in his left hand to catch the blood of the beast to ensure it would not come alive again. The detail in his face was very interesting because it looked as if he and his rage was alive. Seeing his fangs and the anger in his eyes was something that you could only experience in person.
On Wednesday Jan. 11 I was able to present in front of the class about my research topic about the caves at Ajanta. Unlike the presentations we gave during the fall semester in class I was able to present at the actual site of Ajanta which was something that was unimaginable. My research on Ajanta largely focused on the economic aspects of the caves. Much like Connor’s research, I also looked at the caves not only as site for religious worship but also one of economic importance to the region because the caves sat on a trade route. Some of the researchers I looked into heavily discussed the amount of power donors had over the creation of the caves. Most of my sources focused on the exteriors of the chitya halls since they look very regal and kind of palace like to support their claims that the caves at Ajanta were to be built in a grand way to kind of be built for a king.
Here are some great sources to look at that I used for my research:
Brancaccio, Pia. “The Cave as a Palace and the Forest as a Garden: Buddhist Caves and Natural Landscape in Western Deccan,” Paper presented at the annual Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium, Washington D.C., November 14, 2014.
Singh, Manager and Babasaheb Ramrao Arbab. “Architectural History and Painting Art at Ajanta: Some Salient Features.” Arts (2013): 134-150. Accessed December 3, 2016. Doi10.3390/arts2030134.
Spink, Walter M. “Patterns of Patronage.” in Arguments of Ajanta, vol. 2 of Ajanta: History and Development. Leiden: Brill, 2006.
First and foremost thank the Gods that the semester is finally over!!! This has been one of the most stressful but yet eventful semesters here at Colgate. With finals finally being over I can finally look forward to going home for a couple of weeks to be with family for the holidays but what I am most excited for is this trip. I am feeling all types of emotions but I am mostly excited for what I believe will be an unforgettable experience. I look forward to surrounding myself in a completely different culture than mine. I am so excited that I have installed a countdown app on my phone to countdown the days leading up to January 7th, ONLY 22 MORE DAYS!!!!!