Pillars in Great Chaitya Cave, Karli - 1839
This is plate 13 from James Fergusson's 'Illustrations of the Rock Cut Temples of India'. The largest and best-preserved of the Buddhist caves at Karli is the Chaitya or great prayer hall.
Fergusson depicts a close-up view of the interior pillars dividing the aisles and the nave. Two rows of columns delineate three aisles. The columns are very finely carved and have octagonal shafts with pot-like bases and fluted capitals, which are surmounted by sculptures of kneeling elephants carrying male and female riders. Fergusson compared the pillars of this cave with the similar ones found at Kanheri which, he noted, "shows clearly the inferiority of design and execution in the latter".
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