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Proposal - Rock-cut Architecture of Western India


We propose to compile a photo-documentary on the Rock Cut Architecture of Western India

Rock-Cut Architecture (or 'Caves') is the oldest form of architecture in Western India which still exists today. These 'caves' were excavated directly into the mountainside - first by Buddhist monks and later by Hindu and Jains. Having rich patronage from royalty and the mercantile class, these 'caves' developed along the major trade routes in Western India and showed a definite evolution over time; some even evolving into great centres of learning (like Kanheri).

However, post-12th Century AD, due to external threats and a changed political scenario, these centres of learning and refuges of monks descended into obscurity. Soon, they faded away and were forgotten by the masses. They were rediscovered in the mid-19th Century, but they were in an advanced state of ruin.

Post-independence, though a lot of attention was lavished on monuments of 'National Importance', the historical significance of these sites were ignored. In fact, most of them had been encroached upon and damaged.

Through this documentary, we propose to take exhaustively document 10 sites in Western India to preserve it for future generations through a series of high-quality pictures. We also propose to record the local legends that have built up over the centuries around these 'caves'.

The ten sites we have compiled are the following:

 

  1.  Ajanta
  2. Ellora
  3. Gharapuri (Elephanta)
  4. Kanheri
  5. Kondavite (Mahakali)
  6. Jogeshwari
  7. Aurangabad
  8. Karle
  9. Kondane
  10. Bhedsa

 

After completing this, we hope to publish our documentary in a book available at all leading book stores. Through this we aim to build awareness amongst today's generation regarding this unique architecture and suggest means to improve the conservation of these sites.

Regarding how we'll go about this, it shouldn't be too difficult. Since both of us are based in Mumbai, these sites are not too far off. An advantage is that being a student of history, Aakash has already visited most of these sites and has a few contacts in the ASI. Both of us are avid photographers and head the Xavier's Photography Club. Thus, we have the necessary photography equipment is already in place. Our main expenses would be travel to the Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad Caves. The cost for this leg of the journey shouldn't exceed Rs. 15,000.

 

In all, our budget works out to Rs. 35,000 inclusive of travelling to and living in and around Ajanta.

This is regarding our worked out final budget:

Ajanta & Ellora & Aurangabad Caves (behind Bibi ka Makbara) - 4 days :

Travelling - Train + Jeep =                                                      Rs  25,000

Living Costs at MTDC (only option) =                                      Rs    5,000

Karle + Bhaja                                                                     Rs     5,000

(travelling, lodging at Pune/Petrol costs if going by car)

Kondane                                                                             Rs     2,500

Kanheri                                                                               Rs       500

Gharapuri (Elephanta)                                                         Rs       500

Jogeshwari Caves                                                                Rs      100

Mahakali Caves                                                                    Rs         0

Total                                                                                     Rs   38,600