View of north-east corner of the Amba Bhai Temple, Kolhapur
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the north-east corner of the Amba Bhai temple, Kolhapur taken in the 1880s or 1890s by Henry Cousens. The earliest parts of the Amba Bhai Temple date to the Yadava period. The Yadavas ruled parts of the northern Deccan from their capital at Devagiri, near modern day Aurangabad, from the 10th century. Parts of the original temple are still extant while others have been heavily rebuilt, for example the pyramidal tower shown here was built in the 18th Century. The entrance hall is laid out on a stepped plan with a basement and eave mouldings, whilst the doorways are flanked by pilasters and pierced stone screens. Throughout the temple, sculptures are set into small niches. The most renowned section of the temple is a mandapa, or porch, situated in front of the Sheshagiri shrine. It is known for its ceiling, which was beautifully carved with Vaishnavite images in the late Chalukyan period.
A description written by Cousens in the Bombay list, p. 283 shortly after this photograph was taken reads: ''The temple of Ambabai or Mahalakshmi is in the middle of the town...The main portico of the building is of two storeys, and is built of black stone from local quarries...The greater part of an older and smaller temple still exists with its own columns and sculpture embedded, as it were, within the larger building, and in the smaller subsidiary shrines in the courtyard we find still more of the old work. All this is genuine Chalukyan masonry, but it is now so much encrusted with whitewash that the minute details of the carving are obliterated. The liberal coatings of crude whitewash with which the shikaras are covered throws them into violent and painful contrast with the well-finished black-stone work which they surmount. The walls outside are covered with a multiplicity of mouldings, and with figures in niches along the upper portion of the lower storey.''