Ellora Buddhist Cave Temples, Maharasthra

high-definition creative commons photographs from the Buddhist caves at Ellora, north of Aurangabad, Maharasthra, together with a description.

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The Ellora Caves
Description from Burgess and Fergusson, The Cave Temples of India (1885), Chapter IV

(slightly re-edited)

The largest and most varied group of cave temples in India are certainly those at Verūle, Elora or Elura, about twelve miles east of Aurangabad... consisting as they do, of some of the largest and finest examples of the works of all the three sects – Buddhists, Brahmans, and Jains. The caves are excavated in the face of a hill, or rather the scarp of a large plateau, and run nearly north and south for about a mile and a quarter, the scarp at each end of this interval throwing out a horn towards the west. It is where the scarp at the south end begins to turn to the west that the earliest caves – a group of Buddhist ones – are situated; and in the north horn is the Indra Sabha or Jaina group, at the other extremity of the series. The Brahmanical group is situated between the two, and the ascent of the ghat passes up the south side of Kailāsa, the third, and over the roof of the Dāś Avatāra, the second of them. Sixteen caves lie to the south of Kailāsa, fourteen being Buddhist, – and nearly as many to the north – Bralmanical and Jaina, but scattered over a greater distance.

General Views

Panoramas

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Viśvakarma Cave (no. 10)

Viśvakarma Cave. This cave is locally known as Viśvakarma, and is much frequented by carpenters who come to worship the image of Buddha as Viśvakarma, the patron of their craft. It is the only Chaitya cave here, the cathedral temple of the Buddhist caves. And, though not so magnificent in its proportions, or severe in its decoration, as the great cave at Karle, it is still a splendid work, with a large open court in front surrounded by a corridor, and a frieze above its pillars carved with representations of the chase, &c.

The inner temple, consisting of a central nave and side aisles, measures 85 feet 10 inches by 43, and 34 feet high. The nave is separated from the aisles by 28 octagonal pillars, 14 feet high, with plain bracket capitals, while two more square ones, just inside the entrance, support the gallery above, and cut off the front aisle.

The remote end of the nave is nearly filled by a high dagoba, 15 feet in diameter, and nearly 27 feet high, which, unlike older examples, has a large frontispiece, nearly 17 feet high, attached to it – as on that in the Caves Nos. 19 and 26 at Ajaṇṭā – on which is a colossal seated figure of Buddha, 11 feet high, with his feet down, and his usual attendants, while on the arch over his head is carved his Bodhi-tree, with gandharvas on each side.

The arched roof is carved in imitation of wooden ribs, each rising from behind a little nāga bust, alternately male and female, and joining a ridge piece above. The triforium or deep frieze above the pillars is divided into two belts, the lower and narrower carved with crowds of fat little gambolling figures (gaṇas) in all attitudes. The upper is much deeper, and is divided over each pillar so as to form compartments, each usually containing a seated Buddha with two attendants and two standing Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

The inner side of the gallery over the entrance is also divided into three compartments filled with figures. At the ends of the front corridor, outside, are two cells and two chapels with the usual Buddhist figures repeated. From the west end of the north corridor a stair ascends to the gallery above, which consists of an outer one over the corridor, and an inner one over the front aisle, separated by the two pillars that divide the lower portion of the great window into three lights. The pillars of these corridors are generally of great elegance, having tall square bases changing into octagons, and then to 16 and even more sides, and under the capitals returning to the square by the "vase and falling leaf pattern".

The most remarkable feature, however, of the facade of this cave is that instead of the great horse-shoe window, which is characteristic of the Chaitya caves, from the earliest at Bhājā to the latest at Ajaṇṭā, we here find it cut up into three divisions, like a modern Venetian window, with an Attic window over the centre opening. Then for the first time we begin to lose all trace of the wooden forms with which we have so long been familiar, and find at last Buddhist architecture assuming lithic forms, from which all trace of their origin would soon disappear, but as this cave is the last of its class that is known to exist, we are unable to say what the next change would be, but we may safely predict that it would be even more appropriate to stone architecture than even this facade.

From the outer area, four small chapels are entered, each containing sculptures of Buddhist mythology, and where the very elaborate head-dresses of the females of that period may be studied. Over the chapel to the right of the window is a remarkable group of fat little figures (gaṇa), similar to those in the Rameśwara Brahmanical cave near by; and the projecting frieze that crowns the facade is elaborately sculptured with pairs of figures in compartments.

High up on each side are two small chapels, difficult of access, and not specially interesting. From the developed state of the mythological sculptures on the balcony and dagoba, the ornate head-dresses of the figures, and the very marked departure in architectural style in this from the other Chaitya caves, we can hardly assign it a date earlier than first half of the seventh century A.D. Much later we can hardly venture to place it, because after that period we have little evidence that works of the kind were executed by Buddhists.

Do Thal (Two-Story) Cave (no. 11)

The Do Thal. A little further north is the cave known as Do Thal, because it has for long been regarded as consisting only of two storeys. In 1876 the excavation of the earth from what was then the lower floor revealed the landing of a stair from a cave below. This was partially excavated in 1877, and laid open a verandah, 102 feet in length by 9 feet wide, with two cells and a shrine behind, in which is Buddha with Padmapāni and Vajrapāni or Indra as his attendants, the latter with the vajra or thunderbolt in his right hand.

The stair leads into a similar verandah above, with eight square pillars in front, the back wall pierced with five doors. The first, at the stair landing, is only the commencement of a cell. The second, to the south, leads into a shrine with a colossal Buddha, his right hand on his knee, and the left in his lap. In front of the throne, rising from the floor, is a small female figure holding up a water-jar, and to the right another sitting on a prostrate figure.

Buddha's left-hand attendant has a flower stalk by his left side, and over the bud is a vajra or thunderbolt – a short object with three prongs on either end. On the same (or right) wall are three other tall standing males. The one next Vajrapāni has a similar flower-stalk supporting an oblong object which strongly resembles a native book tied up with a string; this may perhaps be Mañjuśri. The next holds a lotus-bud, and the last a pennon.

On the return of the wall is a tall female figure with a flower. On the north side are also three figures, one of which holds a very long sword; and on the return of the wall on this side a fat male figure, adorned with garlands and necklaces, with a round object like a coconut in his right, and perhaps a money-bag in his left hand – possibly meant to represent the excavator.

Above these figures on either side are seven figures of Buddhas, the foliage of the peculiar Bodhi-tree of each extending over his head like an umbrella.

The central door leads into a small hall with two square pillars, and partially lighted by two small windows. Behind it is a shrine with a Buddha on a siñhāsana, or throne supported by lions, his feet crossed in front of him, his right hand hanging over his knee – in the Bhūmisparśa or Vajrāsana mudrā. Vajrapani here holds up his vajra in his right hand.

The fourth door has a carved architrave, and leads into a shrine very similar to the corresponding one on the other side the central area. Buddha, as usual, with his attendants Padmapāni, bejewelled and wearing a thick cord or necklace, and Vajrapāni with three tall figures on either side, the one next to Vajrapāni having a book on the top of the flower-bud he holds, the strings by which it is held together being distinctly visible.

There are seven squatting Buddha above, with the foliage extending over their heads; and on the inside of the front wall, on the north, a fat male figure with garlands and necklaces, a round object, – perhaps a coconut – in his right hand, and in his left what appears to be a purse from which coins are dropping out; on the south side stands a female with a flower in her left hand: these again possibly represent the patrom and patroness of the cave.

The last door leads into a cell. At the north end of the verandah the stair ascends to the upper storey. It requires little description: it was intended to bear three shrines as below; the south one, however, has not been commenced; the north one contains a squat, and the central a sitting Buddha with two attendants only.

On the walls are many small Buddhas, a Padmapāni with four arms, females with lotus-buds, &c. There are several cells in the court; but, as it has not been cleaned out, and is deep in silt, only one of them is accessible, containing a headless image of Buddha, a seated Lokeśvara, and other sculptures.

Tin Thal (Three-Story) Cave (no. 12)

The Tin Thal. The court of this fine cave has been thoroughly cleaned of the silt that filled it, and thus its ample area and great depth is now shown off to advantage. The labour in originally excavating such a court alone out of the solid rock must have been enormous.

Like the last, it is of three storeys, the first entered by a few steps ascending from the court. It has eight square columns with bases, and plain brackets in the front, the upper portion of the central pair being covered with very pretty florid ornamentation. Behind the front row are another two lines of eight pillars each, and in the area that recedes back in the centre are six more columns, making thirty in all.

In a large compartment on the back wall, to the left of the approach to the shrine, is a sculpture in nine squares: in the centre Buddha with chauri-bearers; to his right and left Padmapāni and Vajrapāni; and, above and below, the six figures found in the shrines of the Do Thal, with book, sword, flag, buds and flowers. This sculpture is repeated over and over again in different parts of this cave.

In the corresponding position on the south side has been a seated Buddha, now quite destroyed. In three cells in the north side are stone couches for the monks. In central recesses right and left of the vestibule to the shrine are Buddhas squatting on siñhāsanas, the left attendants having different flowers in each case.

On each side of the shrine door is a fat, seated guardian, with flower-stalks, that on the south side having the book laid over a bud.

The shrine contains an enormous squat Buddha, over 11 feet from the seat to the crown of the head. High up on each side wall are five squat Buddhas, and below are larger sitting figures: to the left, 1st, Padmapāni with his lotus; 2nd, a figure with something very like a crozier; 3rd, one with a sword over a flower; and, 4th, with fruit and a flag. On the right, 1st, Vajrapāni, defaced; 2nd, a figure with a flower; 3rd, one with flower-stalk and book; 4th, with lotus bud. On the inside of the front wall are – on the north a squatting female with a belt over her breasts; and on the south, one with four arms, a bottle, and a flower.

From the south end of the front aisle the stair ascends, and from the first landing a room is entered on the south side of the court, with two pillars in front. On the back wall is a Buddha on a high throne with his usual attendants; and on the west side is Padmapāni seated between a male and female – the latter, perhaps, his wife. There are many smaller figures, four-armed Devis, &c., in this room. From this the stair leads up to the first floor.

It has a long open verandah in front, and a large central entrance divided by two square pillars leads into the hall. There are also entrances from near each end of the verandah. These lead into a long hall, 11 feet 5 inches high, divided into three aisles by two rows of eight pillars each. On the ends of the central vestibule are many sculptures, – among them Padmapāni seated between two females (one of them with a bottle), a dāgoba, figures of Buddha, females, &c.

The shrine door has two fine dwārpālas. Padmapāni on the north side holds a fully blown lotus and a rosary or mālā, and the other his vajra; both have jewelled belts, &c. Inside is an enormous squatting Buddha, and in front of the low throne is a female holding up a loṭā, and opposite her a smaller one standing over a prostrate figure. At the ends of the throne are large figures of Padmapāni and Vajrapāni with their emblems, and on each side wall four figures – while on the front wall are the usual male and female, which I have supposed to represent the patron of the cave and his wife.

Above are seven squatting Buddhas on shelves. In the north end of the verandah is Buddha sitting with the wheel between his heels, and two deer on the ground in front. On each side are his usual attendants and a standing Buddha – coarsely executed. From this point the stair ascends, and in the jamb of the window at the first landing is a figure on horseback with his attendants; above is a female with a flower.

The upper floor is the most striking among the Buddhist caves. It is divided into five cross aisles by rows of eight pillars, which with two in front of the shrine, are forty-two in all, perfectly plain square columns. In recesses at the ends of the aisles are large figures of Buddhas seated on thrones, with their usual attendants.

At the south end of the back aisle the Buddha is on a siñhāsana with the wheel in the middle, and lying in front two finely-cut deer, unfortunately broken by some barbarian. Possibly this may be intended no an allusion to Buddha's teaching in the Mrigadava or deer-park at Banāras – which seems to have been a favourite resort of his.

In the north end of the same aisle Buddha is represented in a squatting attitude, his feet drawn up in front of him, and his hands in the teaching mudrā. He sits on a throne with a lion in the centre, but, instead of his usual attendants, on either side of him are (1) a squat-ting Buddha with hands in his lap, in the act of ascetic meditation, by which he attained Buddhahood; (2) above this is Buddha soaring to the heavens to preach his law to the gods; and (3) Buddha dying or entering nirvāṇa – everlasting, undisturbed, unconscious repose. These are the great scenes in his life as a Teacher.

To the right of this figure, on a raised basement, along the back wall, extending from the corner to the vestibule of the shrine are seven large squat meditative Buddhas, all perfectly alike, except that each has the foliage of a different Bodhi-tree represented over his head springing from behind the nimbus or aureole.

These are the seven human or earth-born Buddhas, painted also in Cave 22 at Ajaṇṭā with the name below each, as Vipaśyi, Sikhi, Viśvabhū, Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, Kaśyapa, and Śākya Siñha. On the south side of the vestibule is a similar row of seven meditating Buddhas, being perhaps the representations of the same Personages, only with umbrellas over their heads, as symbols of dominion, instead of the Bodhi-trees.

The vestibule of the shrine contains two tall dwārapalas with crossed arms and lofty head-dresses; on each end wall are three female figures seated on a high basement, with the right foot down and resting on a lotus, and the left turned under her. The one next the corner on each side has four arms, and holds a mālā or rosary and a crooked rod; she is, doubtless, the counterpart of some Hindu Devi, like Lakṣmi or Saraswatīi, introduced into the Buddhist mythology.

On the back wall on each side are three similar figures, but all with two arms, and each holding some symbol, as a flower, vajra, &c. They sit on padmāsanas, or lotus-thrones, supported by nāga-canopied figures, standing among lotus leaves, fish, birds, etc. They are perhaps Locanā, Tārā, and Mamukhī, female counter-parts of the Bodhisattvas we have already met with in the shrines.

Above all are four Buddhas on each division of the back wall, and five on each end wall. In the shrine is the usual very large squat Buddha, which the natives persist in worshipping as Rāma. His nose and lips have long been wanting, but these as well as mustachios are supplied in plaster, and whenever they fall or are knocked off, their place is speedily restored by fresh ones.

On his left is Padmapāni or Avalokiteśvara, with a chauri, and, as usual, a small figure of Amitabha Buddha on the front of his cap; next to him is a figure with a bud; then one with a long sword on his right, with a flower in his left hand; a fourth with a fruit and flower or small chauri, and the fifth with some unrecognisable object and a branch or flower. On Buddha's left are Vajrapāni and four other similar figures.

On the inside of the front wall are a male and female, – the male with a purse and money. Above, on each side, are squatting figures of Buddha. In the north side of the court of this cave is a small one with two pillars in the east face, and containing a water-cistern.

This is the last of the Buddhist caves here; it bears decided evidences of belonging to the latest form of the Mahāyāna sect in India, and was perhaps one of the latest executed – probably not before 700 A.D.

Caves 1-2

The first cave is much filled up with earth. It is, however, of no great interest, except as perhaps one of the oldest here, and probably attached to the next. It was a vihāra or monastery with eight cells inside for monks, four in the back and four in the south side. It is 41 feet 6 inches wide and 42 feet 3 inches deep. The front has all fallen, except one pillar near the south end. Outside, in the south end of what may have been a verandah, is another cell or room.

The second is a large and interesting cave, and was, doubtless, a chapel or hall for worship. It is approached by a flight of steps leading to the top of a stylobate, the front of which has been carved in compartments with fat gaṇa or dwarf figures, often in grotesque attitudes. On this, four pillars, with pilasters at the ends, once supported the roof of the verandah, but this is now entirely gone. At the north end of the verandah is a fat squatting figure with a high and elaborate head-dress or makuṭa, a jewelled cord over his breast, and a bouquet of flowers in his right hand, attended by a chauri-bearer with his fly-flap. Right and left are small figures of Buddha sitting, with attendant chauri-bearers.

On the south was probably a similar female figure, but only the attendant is left, and a gandharva or cherub holding a garland over her head. These figures are often met with, and may be conventional representations of the prince who executed the cave, and his wife, or possibly Suddhodana and Māyādevī, or (as in the Ajaṇṭā paintings) of Śakra or Indra, – a favourite divinity with the Buddhists and Jains, and represented as almost a servant or attendant on Buddha, – with his wife Sachi or Ambā.

Two tall guardians or dwārapālas stand by the door with lofty head-dresses and aureoles, gandharvas or cherubs over their shoulders, and a female figure with an aureole or nimbus behind her head, standing between the dwārapāla and the door.

The front wall is pierced by a door and two windows, and much of the remaining wall, together with the jambs of the windows, is covered with sculptures of Buddha. The cave is peculiar in laving lateral galleries along each side, and, exclusive of these, measures nearly 48 feet square.

The roof is supported by twelve columns arranged in a square, with elegant cushion capitals and high square bases, of the type found at Elephanta, standing on a platform raised about 18 inches above the front and side aisles, which are about 17 feet high.

Except the four in the back row, they have little dwarf figures on the upper corners of the square portions of the shafts; above these they are circular and fluted, while the spaces between the dwarf figures and a belt below them covered with rich and varied arabesques.

The side galleries have each four pillars in front, of a different design, while the fronts of the galleries are carved with florid work and musicians.

In the five compartments of the back of each gallery are as many Buddhas seated in the same attitude as the colossal one in the shrine, and with his usual chauri-bearers, the one on his right hand usually holding also a lotus-bud. These side galleries were perhaps an afterthought, for in that on the north side some of the figures are quite unfinished.

The dwārapālas of the shrine are large figures, 13 to 14 feet high, that on the left or north side is Padmapāni, very plainly dressed, with his robe fastened round the waist by a string; his head-dress is the jaṭā of plaited hair worn by ascetics; he has a small image of Amitābha Buddha as a crest on the front of it, and holds a mālā or rosary in his right hand, and a lotus-stalk in his left.

The other (on the south side) is perhaps Indra, – as is almost always the case – has a very richly jewelled head-dress, with a small dāgoba on the front of it, bracelets, armlets, a thick jewelled Brahmanical cord or janvi, and a small bouquet of flowers in his right hand. Both are attended by two pairs of flying gandharvas above, while about midway up the wall are others with curly wigs, bearing garlands. Between each dwārapāla and the door is a female worshipper with a flower in her right hand.

The shrine contains a colossal Buddha seated on a throne borne up at the corners by lions. His feet rest on a nearly circular plinth; his hands are in the dharmacakra mudrā, and through the palm of the left hand passes the corner of his robe. This attitude, as well as a few others, are repeated scores of times, and is that of the Teacher enumerating, like Socrates, the points of his argument or lecture on his fingers. His head, always represented as covered with small knobs as of short-cut curly or woolly hair, and with a pile of them on the top, is surrounded by the usual nimbus.

On each side of it are gandharvas. At each end of his throne stand attendant chauri-bearers, who are just the duplicates of the warders outside. And on each side wall is a colossal standing figure of Buddha. His right hand hangs down, and has the palm turned out; the left is bent upwards, and holds a part of his robe.

In the corners next to these are four worshipping figures, one above the other. This cell is dark, but one of the least damaged of the sort here. The nose of Buddha has been broken off, probably within the last few years.

On each side of the shrine is a double cell in line with the side aisles. In the outer of these, and all over the front wall, are many figures of Buddha in different attitudes, with his attendants – the largest figure, however, being of a female on the front wall, right opposite to the north dwārapāla of the shrine, and with similar head-dress, lotus, &c., attended by two smaller females with lotus flowers. It is difficult to say who this may represent. It may be Māyā, the mother of Buddha, or his wife Yaśodharā, or probably Tārā – a female counterpart of Avalokiteśwara or Padmapāni, – all of whose symbols she possesses. In other places, too, we find Padmapāni attended by a female, and frequently by two.

The horse-shoe shaped arch, representing the window of a Chaitya cave, the Buddhist-rail pattern, and the dāgoba in bas-relief, which are almost the sole ornaments in the early Buddhist caves at Bhājā, Beḍse, Kondāne, and Nāśik, have in this, and in the other caves here, almost entirely disappeared; we find only two small dāgobas in relief over an image of Buddha in the cell on the south of the shrine, and a third on the end of the south gallery. This and the profusion of imagery would seem to indicate a late date for the cave. Moreover, though evidently intended, like the Chaitya caves, solely as a place for worship, it has not the arched roof so general in such caves. It is very difficult to fix an age for it, but it may have been begun in the fifth or sixth century, while the carving may have been continued down to the seventh.

Cave 3

The third cave, somewhat lower down in the rock, is a vihāra or monastery, and belongs to about the same age as the second; it is probably the older of the two, but, like it, never seems to have been perfectly completed.

The south half of the front wall is now entirely gone, as is also the verandah before it. It measures nearly 46 feet square and about 11 high, the roof being supported by twelve square columns with drooping ears falling over circular necks, – a sort of Indian Ionic. Three of them on each side are only blocked out, with octagonal necks. The cells for the monks have been twelve, – five on each side and two in the back, – but the front one on the south side is now broken away.

Between the two cells in the back is the shrine, – smaller than in the last cave, and the figures more abraded, but otherwise almost exactly the same; the uppermost of the four supplicants in the corners, however, has no attendants. On the north wall of the cave are two small sculptures (one of them just begun) of Buddha and attendant chauri-bearers. There is a window in the front wall, north of the door, which has been divided by two colonnettes, both broken. It is bordered outside by a neat florid pattern.

In the north end of the verandah is a chapel containing a Buddha with his legs crossed in front, and, as usual in most of the caves, with his hands in the teaching mudrā. He is seated on a lotus, the stalk of which is supported by small figures having snake or nāga-hoods over their heads, – the males usually with three, five, or seven hoods, and the females with one or three. This sort of seat is known as a padmāsana, or lotus-throne. Buddha is attended, as usual, with two chauri-bearers, the one on his left having a jaṭā or head-dress of plaited hair, with long locks hanging over the front of his shoulders, and a lotus in his left hand. Above their heads are gandharvas, or Indian cherubs...

Cave 5

The Mahārvāḍā cave – Ascending a few steps we enter the fifth excavation, a very large vihāra cave, about 117 feet deep by 58.5 wide, exclusive of two large side recesses. The roof is supported by twenty-four pillars with square shafts, and capitals of the type found at Elephanta, and in the second cave here, having a thick torus or compressed cushion as the chief feature of the capital. They are arranged in two rows extending from front to back, and the space between is divided into three passages by two low stone benches, similar to those found in the Darbar cave at Kanheri.

Their presence here at once suggests that this cave may have been used for the same purposes. That in fact it was the Dharmaśālā of the group, though, it must be confessed, it is not so easy to demonstrate its appropriateness for that purpose, as in the case of the Kanheri cave, nor to reconcile its disposition with the descriptions of Buddhist authors.

Its arrangements generally do not seem well adapted to a hall of assembly, but it must be recollected that it is a very late cave of the sixth, possibly of the seventh, century, and we ought not to be surprised at any vagary the Buddhist architects indulged in at that period.

It has been suggested that it was a refectory, but solid tables that you cannot get your legs under, nor get close to while squatting, are not a likely arrangement, nor one adapted to the simple fare of ascetic monks; besides these tables are very much in excess of the accommodation required for the 20 monks this cave might accommodate.

Till therefore some better explanation of its peculiarities is brought forward, we are probably justified in assuming that it was the chapter house, or hall of assembly, of this group of Buddhist caves.

At the entrance of the left aisle is a chapel which contained a sitting figure of Buddha, now quite destroyed. In the shrine at the back is a large seated Buddha with attendants, and on each side the door, in arched recesses, as at a Bāgh, are attendants separately Padmapāni, on the north side, attended by two small female figures with head-dresses resembling royal crowns. The other figure is more richly bejewelled and similarly attended, while above gandharvas or cherubs on clouds bring garlands and presents to them.

Cave 6-7

Northwards... we enter hall with a stair landing in it from the cave below. This hall, of which the west side is entirely gone, is 26 feet from north to south, and 28.75 from east to west. On the east side it has three cells, and on the north has been separated from a still larger and very lofty hall by two pillars and their corresponding pilasters, of which only one pillar and pilaster remain.

The central hall was 26.5 feet wide and about 43 feet in length, exclusive of the antechamber at its east end, cut off from it by two pillars and their pilasters, as was also another hall on the north, 27 feet by 29, similar to that on the south, with three cells in the back, and as many in the east end, all with very high steps. The antechamber in the front of the shrine is filled with sculpture.

On the north end is a female dressed exactly in the garb of Padmapāni. On the south end is a similar female figure, supposed to represent Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, with a peacock at her left hand; below it a pandit reading...

In it on the left, or north side, of the cell door is Padmapāni with his usual attributes, and two gandharvas above, and a male and female attendant below. It is not so clear who the corresponding figure of a dwārapāla on the right may represent, probably Manjuśri. Both are tall, carefully executed in all their details, and the figures by which they are accompanied, and the foliage above their heads, are of very considerable elegance. The frame work of the door of the cell is simpler than is generally found at that age, and in better taste than in most examples of its class.

Returning, now through cave no. 6 to the stair, we descend into the seventh, a large plain vihāra, 51.5 feet wide by 43.5 deep, the roof supported by only four square columns. It has five cells in the back, and three on each side, but is in no ways interesting, and appears never to have been finished.

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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