This cave-temple is one of a series of caves situated at Ajanta, a Buddhist monastic and pilgrimage site excavated from the rock escarpment of a gorge formed by the Waghora River in a remote region of northwestern Deccan. This cave was excavated during the second phase of building activity at the site, under the probable patronage of the feudatory Vakataka ruler Harishena (r. ca. 460-78). Cave 2, a monastic residence (vihara) for monks and the lay community, is renowned for its magnificant wall paintings of Bodhisattvas (future Buddhas), which are associated with Mahayana Buddhism, and narrative illustrations of the earlier lives of the Buddha (jatakas). These wall paintings, demonstrating a variety of illusionistic techniques, constitute some of the earliest extant paintings of the Indian subcontinent.