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Day 2 – Q 1. There is a glimpse of contemporary social and cultural life in India’s cave architecture and paintings. Elucidate

  • IASbaba
  • November 29, 2022
  • 0
Art & Culture, GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. There is a glimpse of contemporary social and cultural life in India’s cave architecture and paintings. Elucidate. 

भारत की गुफाओं की वास्तुकला और चित्रों में समकालीन सामाजिक और सांस्कृतिक जीवन की झलक मिलती है। स्पष्ट करें।


Approach

Candidates can start the answer with highlighting about India’s cave architecture and painting since the Bhimbetka cave paintings and how it presented the socio-cultural life set up of that time. Further elucidate on same thing with different examples in the main part of the answer.

Introduction

The cave architecture in India is believed to have begun during the ancient time. The relics, motifs, murals-paintings and sculptures enlighten us with a lot of information of their contemporary times giving us an impression of various traditions, customs and lifestyles followed by the inhabitants.

Body

Bhimbetka cave:

  • It is very interesting to note that the division of labour can be reflected in the paintings of Bhimbetka. Scenes from day-to-day life like hunting, dancing and even some sex scenes are portrayed in these paintings.
  • The walls of these shelters are also adorned with religious symbols that were popular with these prehistoric artists.

Ajanta Caves:

  • Famous fresco paintings of Ajanta are dying princess, flying apsara, and preaching Buddha.
  • It encompasses both Theravada (Hinayana) and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. It helps us to understand how Buddhism was pursued in those times.

Badami Caves:

  • The caves are known for the Nagara and Dravidian styles of architecture and exquisite carvings, sculptures and beautiful murals.

Ellora Caves:

  • Showcases a spirit of co-existence and religious tolerance through the outstanding architectural activities carried out by the followers of three prominent religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Jainism.

Udaygiri caves:

  • Ancient monumental relief sculpture of Vishnu in his incarnation as the man-boar Varaha, rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhudevi clinging to the boar’s tusk as described in Hindu mythology.

Saptaparni Cave:

  • The Buddha never wrote down his teachings. After the Saptaparni Caves meeting, Ananda created an oral tradition of Buddha’s teaching from his memory, prefacing it with “Thus have I heard on one occassion”.

Lomas Rishi Caves:

  • The Ajivikas sect that competed with Jainism and eventually died out. As per inscriptions it shows they pondered in caves, rejecting both the Vedas’ authority and Buddhist beliefs.

Nagarjuni Caves:

  • It testifies Ashoka’s grandson and successor, Dasaratha (reigned in 232 – 224 BC) – has devoted these caves to Ajivika thus these structures might be some 50 years younger than caves at Barabar.

Mandapeshwar Caves:

  • It was built as a Brahmanical cave during the late Gupta dynasty later transformed into a Christian cave, however. Sculptures of Natraja, Sada Shiva, and Ardhanarishwara can be seen among the site’s ruins.

Conclusion

The paintings on caves and rock-cut structures survive for many centuries. These cave paintings got their inspiration from nature and local traditions of times. These paintings mostly depicted gods and goddesses, mythological stories and characters, epics, nature, flora and fauna, humans, and religions of that times.

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