Exterior of Cave No 26, [Ajanta]
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the exterior of Cave 26 taken by Deen Dayal in the 1890s. The
thirty magnificent cave temples are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora river in West India and consist of prayer halls (chaityas) and monasteries (viharas) built for the Buddhist community who lived there. The first group was excavated between the 2nd - 1st century BC, the second is dated to around 5th century AD in the Vakataka period. Cave 26 is a chaitya hall that was constructed in the 5th century AD. It is large and elaborately decorated. A columned verandah, now almost destroyed preceded the courtyard before the cave. The two side chapels in the courtyard have columns with elaborate pot and foliage capitals. The facade is dominated by a large shoe-shaped window with large figures of yakshas carved around it and with Buddha figures behind. The interior of the cave has two rows of fluted columns decorated with bands of floral patterns. At the end of the central nave there is a stupa with a sculpture of a seated Buddha figure.