Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamyan cliffs. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and Indian art. Built in , the larger in The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction. Therefore he looted Buddhist monasteries and stole other important artifacts. Later, the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues.