Cave 12 To 15
At a distance of 600 m from Ajanta Foot Cave Bus Stop, Cave 12 is situated adjacent to Cave 11 at Ajanta in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
Cave 12 is a Hinayana vihara which was excavated in the 2nd century BC and it is probably one of the earliest excavations at Ajanta. The facade has collapsed and reveals the plain interior square hall. It has 12 cells and each cell having two stone-beds. The skillfully carved sleeping berths in the cells. An inscription on the back wall of the monastery records the gift of this cave by one merchant Ghanamadada and paleographically datable to 2nd - 1st century BC perhaps slightly later than Cave 10. The walls of the hall above the cell-doors are ornamented with chaitya-window motifs.
Cave 13 is an incomplete vihara belongs to Hinayana phase of Buddhism. This is a small monastery and consists of an astylar hall with seven cells on three sides. The cells are provided with rock-cut beds.
Cave 14 is an unfinished monastery and was excavated above Cave 13 at a higher level. It was originally planned on a large scale. The columned verandah leads to the partially excavated hall. The depiction of salabhanjikas on the top corners of doorway is beautifully depicted.
Cave 15 is also a vihara which consists of an astylar hall with eight cells, an antechamber, sanctum sanctorum and a pillared verandah. The sculptural depictions include Buddha in various postures, seated Buddha on simhasana inside the sanctum sanctorum. The traces of paintings indicate that it was originally painted. The lintel of the doorway is carved in the form of two tiers of a sikhara. At the center of the lower tier is a stupa under the canopy of serpent-hoods, while the upper tier has at its center a chaitya-window motif flanked by a pair of pigeons carved in a most realistic manner.
Cave 15A is the smallest of all the excavations at Ajanta. This cave consists of a small central astylar hall with one cell on three sides. The front wall had an inscription in shell characters. The hall is relieved with chaitya window pattern rising from Vedic pattern.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM on all days except Mondays.