Upper façade from the left of Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave XIX, Ajanta
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the upper façade of the Buddhist chaitya hall, Cave 19 at Ajanta, taken by Robert Gill in 1868. The thirty magnificent cave temples of Ajanta 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 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. A columned portico precedes the entrance. The outer walls are decorated with columns covered with elaborate ornamentation of scrollwork, foliation and jewelled bands as well as figures of seated and standing Buddhas. The side shrines have columns with luxuriant pot and foliage capitals and the interior is also very elaborate.