Ellora. Lord Minto's Party at the foot of the [Visvakarma] Cave
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Lord Minto's party at the foot of the Visvakarma Cave at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1900s, from the 'Views of the Caves of Ellora and Ajunta, Nizams Dominions, [by] Raja Deen Dayal & Sons, State Photographers'. Lord Minto (the fourth Earl of Minto) succeded Lord Curzon as Viceroy of India between 1905-1910. He had fought in the Afghan War in 1879. The spectacular site of Ellora is famous for its series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a basalt cliff. The works were done under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and 9th centuries. The cave known as Vishvakarma (named after the archietect 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 large open court has a pillared verandah which admits into the long interior with an open gallery above. The gallery's roof is carved into the imitation of a wooden one with ribs and rafters, and above it is a series of auspicious mithuna (or loving) couples. In the rear wall of the gallery which is decorated with celestial flying figures are windows which admit light into the interior, one circular within an arch, a relic of the horseshoe shaped arches of early Buddhist chaitya halls.