Ajanta Hills (or Inhyadri)

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Rainfall on the Ellora caves in late September 2015; Picture courtesy: The Times of India, September 19, 2015

Ajanta Hills (or Inhyadri)

This section has been extracted from

THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.

OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.

Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.


This range, also called the Chandor, Satmala, or Inhyadri Hills, and Sahyadriparbat in Hyderabad territory, consists of a series of basalt pinnacles and ridges of the same geological formation as the Western Ghats, from which it breaks off at right angles near Bhanvad in Nasik District (Bombay), and runs nearly due east, with a general elevation of 4,000 feet or more, for about 50 miles, to near Manmad, where there is a wide gap through wind) the Great Indian Peninsula Railway passes. From Ankai, south of Manmad, the range runs eastward at a lower level for about 20 miles, widening into the small tabledand of Rajapur.

At Kasari there is a second gap, from which the hills run north-eastwards for about 50 miles, dividing Khan desh District from Aurangabad to near Ajanta. Thence they again turn eastwards into Berar, entering Buldana District, the southern portion of which they cover, and pass on into Akola.a and Yeotmal. The Hyderabad Districts of Parbhani and Nizamabad are traversed by the southern section of the range, locally called Sahyadriparbat. The length of the latter is about 150 miles, and of the section called Ajanta about 100.

The range forms the northern wallof the Deccan table-land and the watershed between the Godavari and Tapti valleys, rising in parts of Berar into peaks of over 2,000 feet in height. The old routes followed by traders and invading armies from Gujarat and Malwa enter the Deccan at the Manmad and Kasari gaps, and at the passes of Gaotala and Ajanta. At the last-named place, in the Nizam's Dominions, are the famous Buddhist cave-temples of Ajanta. The range is studded with hillr forts, most of which were taken from the Peshwa's garrisons in 1818.

The most notable points are Markinda (4,384 feet), a royal residence as early as A.D 808, overlooking the road into Baglan, and facing the Holy hill of Saptashring (4,659 feet); Raulya Jaulya, twin forts taken by the Mughals in 1635 ; Dhodap, the highest peak in the range (4,741 feet); Tudrai (4,526 feet); Chandur, on the north of the Manmad gap ; Ankai, to the south of the same ; Manik- punj, on the west side of the Kasari gap ; and Kanhira, overlooking the Patna or Gaotala pass.

The drainage of the hills, which in Bombay are treeless save for a little scrub jungle in the hollows at their feet, feeds a number of streams that flow northwards into the Girna or south- wards into the Godavari. Beyond Bombay the hills are well wooded and picturesque, and abound in game. In Hyderabad they form the retreats of the aboriginal tribes (see Bhils), and in Yeotmal District are peopled by Gonds, Pardhans, and Kolams as well as by Hindus.

The hills are mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari under the name of Sahia or Sahsa.

See also

Ajanta: An overview, detailed research on the Caves and the Art

Ajanta Hills (or Inhyadri)

Ajanta Village

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