relatively little is in fact known about the details of the religious world of the Indus Valley civilization. Based on archaeological remains, however, it seems that this was a religious world that was particularly focused on ritual bathing and animal sacrifice, elements that may be the source of later Hinduism's attention to the purifying qualities of water and the centrality of sacrifice. Furthermore, a great many female figurines have been discovered in the ruins of the cities that date to this period. These seem to have been goddesses, and may have been particularly associated with fertility rituals.
Buddhism, along with Hinduism, began to become prominent in Indian art in the last centuries BCE. For example, Buddhist stupas (memorials associated with places in Buddhist legends) were covered with stone carvings. One example is the Great Stupa at Sanchi. It is the location of several Buddhist monuments dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 12th century CE and is one of the important places of Buddhist pilgrimage.
The paintings and sculptures in the caves depict scenes from the Jataka Tales and numerous images of Buddha, Indian nymphs, and princesses. The caves appear to have been abandoned shortly after c. 480 CE, and gradually forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed until 1819 when they were rediscovered by a British officer hunting tigers.
these caves are located in a horseshoe-shaped bend of rock nearly 76 meters in height overlooking a narrow stream known as Waghora. The location of this valley provided a calm and serene environment for the Buddhist monks who retreated at these secluded places during the rainy seasons. This retreat also provided them with enough time for furthering their religious pursuits through intellectual discourses for a considerably longer period.The process for creating the walls paintings was very complicated. New World Encyclopedia writes that
the technique and process used to create the Ajanta cave paintings are unlike any other artwork found in the art history of other civilizations, and are unique within the history of South Asian art... The process of painting involved several stages... While the plaster was still wet, the drawings were outlined and the colors applied. The wet plaster had the capacity to soak up the color so that the color became a part of the surface and would not peel off or decay easily. The colors were referred to as 'earth colors' or 'vegetable colors.' Various kinds of stones, minerals, and plants were used in combinations to prepare different colors. The paint brushes used to create the artwork were made from animal hair and twigs.
The cave paintings of Ajanta were a major influence on the artwork of Christian artist Angelo da Fonseca, but more on him later.