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Interior of Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave XIX, Ajanta, from the window over the entrance

Interior of Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave XIX, Ajanta, from the window over the entrance

Photographer: Gill, Robert

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 1000/20(2088)

Item number: 2088

Length: 12

Width: 19

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Stereoscopic photograph of the interior of the Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave 19 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, the second is dated to around 5th century AD, the Vakataka period. Cave 19 is a very elaborate rock-cut chaitya hall from the late 5th century. The external facade has a large horseshoe-arched window flanked by figures of yakshas and Buddhas carved in relief. The outer walls are decorated with columns covered with elaborate ornamentation of scrollwork, foliation and jewelled bands and figures of seated and standing Buddhas. The side shrines have columns with luxuriant pot and foliage capitals. A columned portico precedes the entrance and leads to the interior hall, seen in this view, which has two rows of columns elaborately decorated with Buddha figures, flying couples, hermits, musicians, that adorn the capitals. The panels above depict Buddhas surrounded by bands of scrollwork. At the end of the apse there is a Buddha image in a niche on the front of the votive stupa. The vaulted ceiling has rock-cut ribs. This view depicts the interior of the chaitya at the level of the sculptured panels above the columns and shows the ribs of the ceiling.

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