Entrance to Lomas Rishi Cave, Barabar Hills, Gaya (Bihar)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen-and-ink drawing of the entrance to the Lomas Rishi Cave in the Barabar Hills at Gaya, Bihar, dated 1814.
The excavation of this cave has been both architecturally and epigraphically dated to around 250 BC, when the area was ruled by the Mauryan king, Asoka. Asoka was a Buddhist who ruled almost the whole of what we now call India in the third century BC. However these caves were used by the Ajivikas, a Jain sect which thrived under Asoka's policy of religious tolerance. The sect believed that life was totally predetermined by destiny and practiced asceticism at locations like these caves. Along with the other cave-temples in the Barabar hills, the Lomas Rishi cave provided a prototype for the larger Buddhist Chaitya halls that are found in Maharasthra, such as Ajanta or Karli and were very influential to the tradition of South Asian rock-cut architecture. The area is also the setting for the opening of E.M. Forster's 'A Passage to India'. This picture depicts the ornately carved entrance to the cave.