Clock companies, apartment buildings, beer bars, inns and lodges, toothbrushes and the Indian art world all pay homage to it because the word ‘Ajanta’ is emblematic of Indian art and beauty. It is so steeped in modern Indian consciousness that ‘Ajanta’ keeps appearing in books, novels, songs, movies and every other form of popular culture.
But we owe the popularity of the Ajanta cave paintings to the work done by one of the country’s premier art schools – Mumbai’s Sir J J School of Art – whose extensive documentation of the murals helped give Indian art an identity and went on to revolutionise it. It also changed the parameters by which the world began to look at Indian art.
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