Interior of Buddhist vihara, Cave XXI, Ajanta
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of the interior of the Buddhist vihara, Cave 21 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 21 is an incomplete monastery from the late 5th century. The verandah has lost its piers. Above the two pillars of the side shrines are carvings of Hariti with attendants and a naga king. The door leading to the the hall is richly ornamented. The interior hall, seen in this view, has sixteen-sided pillars with carved bands on their shafts. The square capitals support richly brackets with groups of figures and scrollwork.