The three strides from Das Avatara [Sculptured panel of Trivikrama incarnation of Vishnu in Hindu Cave XV (Dasavatara), Ellora.]
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a sculptured panel depicting Vishnu as Trivikrama in 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 cliff of basalt. This cave was begun 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. On the right wall of the hall there are depictions of the ten avataras, or vibhavas of Vishnu; the panel in this view represents Vishnu as Trivikrama. His leg is upraised, pacing out the universe in three massive strides.