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Aurangabad: Cave V

Aurangabad: Cave V

Draughtsman: Ganpat Purshotam (fl. 1875)

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1876

Shelfmark: WD2210

Item number: f.66a

Genre: Plan

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Pen-and-ink plan of Cave 5 at Aurangabad by Ganpat Purshotam (fl. 1875), dated March 1876. This image is from an album of 106 drawings of plans, sections, elevations, sculpture and architectural details from sites in Hyderabad and Bombay. The drawings were prepared mainly by Indian draftsmen under the supervision of James Burgess of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Situated at a height of 700 feet in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats two miles to the north of the town of Aurangabad are a series of Buddhist cave temples carved into the mountainside. They are arranged in two main groups approximately a third of a mile apart. All, except number 4, are attributed to the period of the Vakataka (fourth and fifth centuries AD) and Kalachuri (sixth to eighth centuries) dynasties. There was probably a long and continuous occupation of the site by Buddhist monks and their lay supporters. The Western Group (Caves 1-5) are all classed as viharas (monasteries with cells around a courtyard) except for Cave 4 which is a chaitya (a large arched opening in the façade of a Buddhist temple). It may be that in the early period what is now Cave 5 may have served as part of a small complex of viharas to house monks attached to the chaitya hall. Little remains of Cave 5 except a small shrine and circumambulatory path. The image of Buddha within the shrine is regarded as one of the finest examples of the period, the early 5th century, when Buddhas were installed in shrines for worship. The position of the arms and legs differs from the other Buddhas in the Aurangabad caves indicating a style that was popular in the early centuries AD. The Jains appropriated this cave at a later date and repainted Buddha as a Tirthankara (literally ‘ford-maker’, the name given to the 24 religious teachers worshipped by the Jains).

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