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Interior of Cave No 16, Ajunta

Interior of Cave No 16, Ajunta

Photographer: Dayal, Deen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 430/6(80)

Item number: 80

Length: 20.4

Width: 26.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the interior of Cave16 at Ajanta in Maharashtra, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1880s, part of the Curzon Collection: 'Views of HH the Nizam's Dominions, Hyderabad, Deccan, 1892'. The remarkable cave temples of Ajanta are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora river in West India. They consist of prayer halls (chaityas), or monasteries (viharas), built for Buddhist communities. The caves were in use for about eight centuries, and can be divided into two groups, according to the early Hinayana and later Mahayana phases of Buddhist art. The first group was excavated during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. After a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the 5th century AD, in the Vakataka period. Cave 16 is one of the finest of the monasteries at Ajanta. It was excavated at the end of the 5th century during the reign of Harishena. This view shows the interior hall where most of the columns have octagonal shafts. There are traces of painting on the pillars and ceiling in the foreground of this view. Scenes from the Jataka storeys, which tells the stories from the previous lives of Buddha, are painted on the portions of the cave walls.

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