Interior of Buddhist vihara, Cave VII, Nadsur 10032616
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of Cave VII at Nadsur, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1890s. The caves at Nadsur, located in western Maharashtra, are part of the earliest phase of rock cut architecture in India. The complex consist of a series of viharas, where monks would have once lived, and a simple unadorned Chaitya. The chaitya would have functioned as a Buddhist place of worship, with a hemispherical monument or a stupa at one end. In his account of 1891 Cousens wrote about Nadsur: "No. 7 is the most important cave in the whole group, and it also the largest...Around the three sides of this cave are cells with a bench in each, and each is provided with a small lattice window. In the south wall are three cells, in the west or back wall four, and in the north wall one. Around the three sides of the cave, and before the cell doorway, runs a low bench...The whole of the back wall, with parts of the north and south wall, are decorated with the Buddhist rail, arch, and other mouldings, with figures of men, women and animals. Shallow niches alternate with the cells doors along the walls, and each of the former is surmounted by the chaitya arch, with an imitation of wooden ribbing under its soffit..." The cave was probably excavated between 70 and 50 BC, dated through paleographic evidence. This photograph shows an interior view.