Interior of Cave No 26, [Ajanta]
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of Cave 26 at Ajanta, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1890s. The thirty magnificent cave temples of Ajanta 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. After a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around 5th century AD in the Vakataka period. Cave 26 is a chaitya hall that belongs to the 5th century AD. It is large and elaborately decorated. A columned verandah which is now almost destroyed preceded the courtyard before the cave. The facade is dominated by a large shoe-shaped window with large figures of yakshas carved around it. 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. This view shows one of the two side chapels in the court in front of the cave. The columns have elaborate pot and foliage capitals.