Ellora – Cave 3

DSC04889Cave 3, somewhat lower down in the rock, is a vihara or monastery and belongs to the same period as Cave 2, but this never seems to have been perfectly completed. The right half of the front wall is entirely gone, as is also the verandah before it. It is a perfect square measuring around 45 feet on each side. The roof is a height of 11 feet and supported by twelve columns with drooping ears falling over circular necks. Three of them on each side are blocked out with octagonal necks.

DSC04891There are twelve cells for the monks, five on each side and two in the back. However, the one of the cells at the right is completely broken now. 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. On the left wall of the cave are two smaller sculptures of Buddha and attendants.

There is window in the front wall left of the door, which has been divided into two colonnades, both broken. It is bordered outside by a neat floral pattern. In DSC04894the left end of the verandah was a chapel which still remains. It contains a Buddha with his legs crossed in the preaching attitude. He is seated on a lotus, the stalk of which is supported by small figures having snake hoods, the males with usually three, five or seven hoods and the females with one or three. As we know, this sort of seating is known as padmasana. Buddha is attended, as usual, by two attendants, the one on the left with a long head-dress and a lotus in the left hand.

DSC04893To the right is a carving but none notices but which is of some interest. It may be called a Bauddha Litany, and occurs else where in the caves of the sect in areas like Ajanta and Kanheri. We have seen this earlier in the Cave 7 of the Aurangabad Caves where we have spoken about the eight perils. Avalokiteswara or Bodhisattva Padmapani is represented in the middle with four small scenes on each side. The uppermost on his right represents a great fire with a figure praying towards Padmapani; the second, a figure with a sword, and his intended victim in a similar beseeching attitude; the third and fourth are broken but are typically a person in captive and persons in ship threatened by a storm respectively. To Padmapani’s left, a praying figure with a lion; a person with two snakes; third with an enraged elephant and the last, Kali the goddess of death pursuing the victim who is praying to the lord.

We will proceed further to Cave 4.