'Viswakarma, Dehr Warra'. Engraving by Thomas Daniell after James Wales from [Plans of] Hindoo Excavations in the Mountain of Ellora, published T Daniell, London, 1803. Pl. 8.
Artist: Wales, James (1747-1795)
Plan of Vishvakarma and Dherwara cave temples at Ellora engraved by Thomas Daniell after the drawing of James Wales. Plate 8 of '[Plans of] Hindoo Excavations in the Mountain of Ellora' published by Thomas Daniell in London in 1803.
Ellora is well-known for its series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a basalt cliff. The works were carried out under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and the 9th centuries.
The cave known as Vishvakarma (named after the architect to the gods), is a 7th century cave and one of the latest rock-cut Buddhist chaityas in Western India. The elaborate façade at the end of the large open court has a pillared verandah which admits into the long interior with an open gallery above. The interior of the cave is divided into three aisles by 28 octagonal pillars with plain bracket capitals. The vault of the ceiling is carved with ribs imitating a wooden structure. In the far end of the central nave there is a large seated Buddha in the teaching position carved on the front of the votive stupa, with attendant Bodhisattvas.
The single-storey Dherwara cave temple is in the southernmost group of the Buddhist caves, and dates back to the 6th Century. It consists of a long spacious hall or vihara which was used as a Buddhist monastery as it is indicated by the residential cells cut into the side walls which can be seen in this print. The two long lines of benches carved out of the floor were probably intended for the use of the monks when studying or dining. The hall is divided into three aisles by two rows of columns.