Interior Sootar [Visvakarma] cave [Ellora]
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of the Vishvakarma Cave at Ellora from the Curzon Collection: 'Views of Caves of Ellora and Dowlatabad Fort in H.H. the Nizam's Dominions' taken by Deen Dayal in the 1890s. The spectacular site of Ellora, in Maharashtra, is famous for its series of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were done under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the sixth and the ninth centuries. The cave known as Vishvakarma (named after the architect of the gods) is a seventh century cave and one of the last rock-cut Buddhist Chaityas in Western India. The elaborate façade at the end of large open court has a pillared verandah which admits into the long interior with an open gallery above. The interior is divided into three aisles by 28 octagonal pillars with plain bracket capitals. Above the columns there is a frieze of ganas, dwarf attendants and preaching Buddhas with Boddhisattvas. The vault of the ceiling is carved with ribs imitating a wooden structure. In the far end of the central nave there is a large seated Buddha in the teaching position carved on the front of the votive stupa, with Bodhisattvas.