Duo-owtar cave [Dasavatara Cave Temple, Ellora]
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Dashavatara cave at Ellora from the Curzon Collection: 'Views of Caves of Ellora and Dowlatabad Fort in H.H. the Nizam's Dominions' taken by Deen Dayal in the 1890s. The spectacular site of Ellora, in Maharashtra, is famous for its series of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were done under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the sixth and the ninth centuries. The Dashavatara Cave was started as a Buddhist monastery, but in the eighth century was converted into a Hindu sanctuary under the patronage of the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga (r.c.730-55). It consists of an open court with a free-standing monolithic mandapa in the middle and a two-storeyed hall at the back, the original Buddhist monastery, the walls of which are covered with reliefs illustrating Hindu mythology. The columns are decorated with elaborate pot and foliage motifs carved on the shafts.