The caves of Ajanta offer an instructive field for the study of the evolution of rock-cut architecture. It is unique in the sense that it can be viewed as an enterprise of a sculptor.
The cave architecture, at Ajanta and elsewhere, betrays the strong influence of wooden construction.
The Team was probably drawn from the profession of carpenters, with goldsmiths and ivory-carvers joining hands with the sculptors.
The evolution of rock architecture took place during two periods: the Hinayana period of the pre-Christian era and the later Mahayana period.
During the first phase the sculptural activity was limited.
Mahayana period (4th century onwards)
In the second phase sculptural compositions filled the facade, the shrines etc. Side by side with the excavation of new caves the existing Hinayana ones were suitably modified.
The caves of Ajanta are divided into
Chaitya-s - Temples
Vihara-s - Monasteries