Interior of Chaitya Hall, Karli, looking towards the votive stupa
Photographer: Sykes and Dwyer
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of the Chaitya Hall at Karli, taken by Sykes and Dwyer around 1869. The Great Chaitya or prayer hall at Karli was excavated during the phase of early rock-cut architectural activity in India. The facade of the cave has a wide horseshoe-shaped window with ribs and the porch is adorned with very fine carvings depicting couples of donors positioned between the three arched doorways. These sculptures date from the 1st century BC to 1st century AD. The interior is divided into three aisles by two rows of columns. These have octagonal shafts, pot bases and capitals supporting a stepped abacus with pairs of seated elephants ridden by couples. The vaulted ceiling has wooden ribs. At the end of the central apse there is a monolithic stupa; the hemispherical dome is decorated with railings and has an inverted stepped finial.