Entrance [to Visvakarma], Ellora
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the entrance to the Vishvakarma cave at Ellora, part of the Allardyce Collection: Album of views and portraits in Berar and Hyderabad, taken by Robert Gill in the 1860s. The site of Ellora has a spectacular series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were carried out under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and the 9th Centuries. Cave 10, known as Vishvakarma, named after the architect of the gods, is a 7th century cave and one of the latest rock-cut Buddhist Chaityas in Western India. This Chaitya is an imitation of a wooden construction and the elaborate façade at the end of the large open court has a pillared verandah with two beams cut out of stone that resemble the ends of wooden beams. Three doors at the back of the verandah lead to the hall inside and the upper gallery is approached by steps on the left side of the verandah. The upper gallery doorways lead to the internal gallery with a roof carved with ribs and rafters, again imitating wood, with a series of auspicious mithuna (loving) couples above. In the rear wall of the gallery are windows which admit light into the interior; one of which is horseshoe shaped. A large apsidal hall is divided into three aisles by two rows of octagonal pillars. The frieze above the columns depicts ghanas and preaching Buddhas. In front of the stupa there is a figure of teaching Buddha seated and surrounded by flying attendants.