Posts Tagged 'caves'

female figures of ellora

Posted by on 09 Apr 2011 | Category: india, photography

The ancient (5~10th cent. AD) rock-cut caves of Ellora were oblivious to the outside world for several centuries – until they were redisovered in the early 19th century. In these caves are the goddesses, frozen in time, assuming their ultimate postures in the form of sculptures …

Cave 29. Parvati.
The brahminical caves of Ellora are Siva-centric and hence figures of his consort, Parvati, are seen in various forms. When she is with Siva, she appears homely and bashful. As an independent goddess, she is seen slaying the demons.

parvati with siva at cave 29, ellora

The female figures of Ellora – with small faces, firm and full breasts, narrow waist, wide hips and long thighs – are a treat for the eye and the senses. These sculptures follow certain guidelines for body proportions (iconometry). The iconometric texts suggest that the outer corners of the eyes, the breasts and hips should be slightly exaggerated than the actual measurement. The close set breasts should press each other tightly that even a lotus fibre could not pass through them. The vulva should be shaped like the leaf of the sacred fig tree. Most of the female figures, use diaphanous (thin and transparent) drapery which reveals all their charms, the beauty of every curve, even of the genitals.

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chaityas of ajanta caves

Posted by on 23 Mar 2011 | Category: india, photography

Chaityas are buddhist prayer halls that house a stupa. The word chaitya has its roots in sanskrit chita ~ meaning a pyre or a pile of ashes. The ancient rock-cut buddhist caves of Ajanta were built during the 2nd century BC ~ 6th century AD. All these caves and sculptures are carved out of the rocky hills of Ajanta. They start carving from top of the hill and reach the bottom, and hence do not make use of scaffolds for support.

In the next four chaitya images, you can see how buddhism evolved during the period, from the early hinayana style to the mahayana style of buddhism. Out of the 30 caves of ajanta, 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya grihas and the remaining caves are viharas, carved out of a horse-shoe shaped rock-cliff valley.

Ajanta Cave 10. Thought to be the oldest chaitya hall at Ajanta (2nd century BC). During the early hinayana period, stupa is the centrepiece and no idols are revered.
hinayana chaitya hall, ajanta caves number 10
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