The most popular ancient cave paintings of India are those at Ajanta & Ellora. Check out Indian rock painting.

Cave Paintings in India

Cave paintings of India date back to the prehistoric times. The finest examples of these paintings comprise of the murals of Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh, Sittanavasal, etc, which reflect an emphasis on naturalism. Ancient cave paintings of India serve as a window to our ancestors, who used to inhabit these caves. In the following lines, we have provided more information on the ancient Indian rock paintings:

Ajanta Paintings

Ajanta caves are located at a distance of approximately 100 km from the city of Aurangabad. Most of the paintings seen in the Ajanta Caves, date back to the period of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The themes of most of these paintings revolve around the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. This includes the Jataka stories related to the various lives and incarnations of Buddha. Calligraphic lines characterize these paintings, which can be classified into portraits, narrative illustrations and ornamental decoration. 

Ellora Paintings

Ellora caves are nestled amidst the Chamadari Hills, lying approximately 18 miles to the northeast of Aurangabad city. Paintings can be found in five caves. However, all of them are today preserved only in the Kailasa temple. The rock paintings of Ellora were painted in two different series. The first series, which were done when the caves were carved, revolve around Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The second series, painted centuries later, illustrate procession of Shaiva holy men, Apsaras, etc. 

Bagh Paintings 

Bagh caves, situated on the banks of the Bagh River, have been excavated on the rock face of a lofty hill. The wall paintings of these caves date back to period between 5th and 7th century. These paintings represent the mast exquisite traditions of Indian art form. 

Sittanavasal Paintings

Sittanavasal is the site of an ancient Jain Monastery, located at a distance of around 58 km from Trichy. The monastery is known for housing some of the most exquisite frescoes in a rock cave. Most of these cave paintings are based on the Pandyan period of the 9th century. The themes of these paintings include animals, fish, ducks, people collecting lotuses from a pond, two dancing figures, etc. Apart from that, one can also find inscriptions dating back to the 9th and 10th century. The ceiling of the Ardhamandapam is adorned with murals from the 7th century.