View from left end looking along interior of verandah of Buddhist Vihara, Cave I, Ajanta
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the verandah of Cave I at Ajanta, taken by Robert Gill around 1868-70. The Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta were excavated into a horse-shoe shaped cliff overlooking the Waghora River during two time periods; firstly, the
2nd–1st Century BC and secondly in the 5th Century AD. The caves are numbered 1-28 according to their location, not chronologically. They consist of monasteries (viharas) and prayer-halls (chaitya) used by a community of Buddhist monks who resided there. Cave I, a monastery excavated in the late 5th Century, consists of a verandah with cells and porches at the ends and three doorways leading to the hall, where an antechamber in the middle of the rear wall leads to the principal shrine. The paintings on the walls of the hall represent Jataka scenes and are among the finest at Ajanta. The columns shafts are elaborately carved with medallions, scrollwork and jewelled motifs and on the brackets there are flying couples and scenes from the life of Buddha. The doorways incorporate carvings of musicians, amorous couples and nagas.