Pillar in the upper floor of Das Avatara [Close view of carved base of pillar in upper storey of Hindu Cave XV (Dasavatara), Ellora.]
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a carved pillar in the upper storey of the Hindu Cave XV (Dasavatara) at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1870s. Ellora is renowned for its series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a basalt cliff. The works were carried out under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and the 9th centuries. This cave was started as a Buddhist monastery, but in the 8th century was converted into a Hindu sanctuary under the patronage of the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga (c.730-55). It consists of an open court with a free-standing monolithic mandapa in the middle and a two-storey temple at the back. The temple at the rear was the original Buddhist monastery, the walls of which were covered with relief sculptures illustrating Hindu mythology. The columns in this view have elaborate pot and foliage motifs carved on their shafts along with small figures of ghanas.