Just outside Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India monks carved out a cave complex from the stone mountain and made it their home.\nToday, I am here, in the same point in space but separated from the monks on the 4th dimension \u2018time\u2019 by a few hundred years.\nAs I enter the cave, I first take time to experience the cave with my senses \u2013 my eyes take in the carvings, my ears take in the echoing silence and my skin can feel the drop in temperature. And after my senses have had their fill, I shut them down, close my eyes, tune out\u00a0 the sounds of the few tourists around, and allow my mind to take me on a journey across time. My imagination skills are strained to create visuals of what might have been. But as I keep my eyes closed and breathe very softly to cut out the sounds of my own breath, I begin to \u2018sense\u2019 the life that might have been. The hum of chanting, the naked frugality of their chosen monkhood and their passionate belief in their ideology all come to me as inexpressible feelings. It feels like I am surrounded by them \u2013 all them going about their business ignoring me. I wonder whether, in our attempt to glorify them we have completely forgotten the challenges of their lives. I wonder if they were faced with doubt, and squabbles of the unique form of their community living. I wonder what was done to calm their individual desires and their conflicts.\nThe spaces they have left behind deliver evidence of their lifestyle to us. But they reveal nothing of their souls. I wish more than ever that these walls could speak.\nA view of the caves that left me so dreamy\u2026.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe back of the cave is raised in a slope to act as a pillow\nChannels for water drainage\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nI left the 2nd century Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves feeling wistful \u2026 and couldn\u2019t shake off that experience of being immersed in an era, a lifestyle that I was so far away from.\njm\nJan 2013\n\u00a0\nThe post In the Presence of the Past \u2013 Ancient Caves of Odisha appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.