f.7 The Karle Caves.' Karli.'
Artist: Johnson, John (c.1769-1846)
Watercolour drawing by John Johnson of the cave at Karli, the from a sketch-book of 36 drawings (36 folios) depicting scenes chiefly in W. India and Mysore, dated c.1795-1801. The great chaitya or prayer hall at Karli was excavated during the phase of early rock-cut architectural activity in India in the 1st century AD. The cave is preceded by a large courtyard with a huge 'simhastambha', a column with a bell shaped capital topped by four lions. The entrance to the cave is set back into the side of the mountain. The facade has a wide horseshoe-shaped window with ribs. The interior is divided into three aisles by two rows of magnificent columns. These have octagonal shafts, pot-like bases and fluted capitals carved with pairs of kneeling elephants ridden by embracing couples. The vaulted ceiling has teak ribs set into the rock. At the end of the central aisle there is the monolithic stupa crowned by an inverted stepped finial and a carved wooden umbrella.