Interior of Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave IX, Ajanta 2074
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of the interior of the Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave 9 at Ajanta, taken by Robert Gill in 1868. The 30 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. After a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the 5th century AD in the Vakataka period. Cave 9 is one of the earlier caves dated to the 1st century BC. This chaitya hall has a rectangular plan divided into three aisles by two rows of octagonal columns. The vaulted ceiling used to have timber ribs. At the end of the central apse there is a hemispherical monolithic stupa representing the devotional focus of the cave.