Soon You Can Go Stargazing At Ajanta Caves

Very soon you will be able to gaze at the stars at the heritage site which comprises 30 monastic caves and prayer halls dating back thousands of years
Soon You Can Go Stargazing At Ajanta Caves
Soon You Can Go Stargazing At Ajanta Caves

Over 2,000 years ago, people dug into the Sahyadri Hills to create what is now a World Heritage Site&mdashthe Ajanta Caves. Cut into a horseshoe-shaped hillside, silent but for birdsong and the rippling Waghora River below, Ajanta is a hidden sanctuary.

Soon you will be able to stargaze at this magical site. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is coming up with a new project that allows visitors at Ajanta Caves to stargaze. The project is expected to flag off by the end of November. The project will operate according to seasons when we get clear skies.

Here's more about Ajanta. The 30 monastic caves and prayer halls here were begun in 2 BCE and completed between 460 and 478 CE under the Vakataka dynasty. The monks who lived on this swath of hill meditated in their painted caves drank from the stream and watched monsoon rain cascade in waterfalls between the caves. For a brief time, Ajanta was a beacon of glory in the Buddhist world. But as Buddhism retreated in the 5th century CE, the caves were gradually abandoned, and they remained lost to memory for another 13 centuries. A British cavalry officer rediscovered them in 1819 while hunting boar at a spot now called Captain&rsquos Point.

This is slated to be a community-based tourism project, with local people who will be trained in the use of telescopes and given a basic knowledge of astronomy. The MTDC General Manager, Chandrashekar Jaiswal, has said that the project will be set up and operated from a secluded site-the "Ajanta View Point". Situated away from light pollution, it offers a 270-degree view of the hill on which Ajanta Caves are located.

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