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Interior view from the right of the verandah of Buddhist vihara, Cave XXIV, Ajanta
12.3 x 18.7 cm
Courtesy of the British Library, Image number: 2104, Shelfmark: Photo 1000/20(2104)
Stereoscopic photograph of the interior of the verandah of the Buddhist vihara, Cave 24 at Ajanta, taken by Robert Gill in 1868. The 30 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 24 was left unfinished when the excavations were interrupted in the late 5th century. The pillars from the verandah have mostly fallen down but still show their elaborate ornamentation. The shaft of the pillar is carved with medallions with aquatic monsters or makaras with foliated tails, bands of ornate foliation and scrollwork and half lotus motifs. The capital has the shape of compressed ribbed amalaka fruits with small figures of ghanas supporting the bracket. At the far end of the verandah there is a side shrine.