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Following the tiger’s tracks, the group came to a clearing between tamarind trees and thickets that revealed the rushing Waghora and the ravine it had whittled out of the earth. Smith spotted a horseshoe-shaped escarpment on the other side with a number of openings in the rock face. On closer look, the openings appeared unusual to Smith. Perhaps they were man-made.

The group crossed the river, clambered 79 metres up the cliff and entered. Inside, they found a head-spinning collection of bodhisattvas, stupas, pillars, peacocks and elephants, carefully carved out of ancient rock, as well as immaculate murals, bursting with colour.

Before leaving, Captain Smith etched his name and the date into one of the caves with his hunting knife, forever writing himself into the legend of his discovery: the Ajanta Caves.

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