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The Cave Temples of India

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, November 15, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0131
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$25 - Member
$30 - Non-Member

Buddhist monks praying in front of the stupa in Ajanta Cave 26

The rock-cut architecture at world-famous sites like Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Badami, and many others have captured the imaginations of visitors and devotees for centuries. The sites are notable not just for their antiquity and religious significance, but also for the ingenious and sophisticated techniques used to create them. Somewhere between works of architecture and massive sculptures, these monasteries and temples were excavated from the sides of mountains. Because of their enduring nature, these Ajivika, Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu sites provide rare opportunities for understanding India’s past.

Robert DeCaroli, an art history professor at George Mason University, explores the origins of the rock-cut architectural form in the third century B.C. and introduces some of the most important examples created in the following centuries. He examines what we know about these sites’ histories, how they were made, and what was required to maintain them in antiquity—as well as how they are being protected from threats today.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.