Ellora – Caves 7, 8 and 9

Cave 7: Returning now though Cave 6 to the stair, we descend into a large plain vihara 51 feet wide by 43 feet deep, the roof supported by only four columns. Three of the pillars have broken away. In the back wall, five cells are commenced, of which only two at the right end are finished. There are also three unfinished cells in the right end wall, and four in the left. The thresholds of the door to these are unusually high. Through the back wall of the first cell, in the left side, an opening has been broken into Cave 8.

Cave 8: It consists of two rooms and a shrine with a circumambulatory passage. The inner hall is 28 feet by 25, witDSC04933h three cells on the north side, and is cut off by two pillars at each end. The shrine has the usual dwarapalas and their attendants at tDSC04930he door; and inside is the seated Buddha with his attendants, but in this case Padmapani has four arms, holding the lotus and deer skin over his shoulders. At his feet are small figures of devotees and behind them is a tall female figure with a flower in her left hand and dwarfs over her head. The other tall male attendant has a similar companion on his left.

                          On the wall at the south entrance to the pradakshinapatha, is a sculpture of Maha Mayuri, somewhat similar to the cave above. Opposite is a cell, and in the passage two more. The outer room is 28 feet by 17, with a slightly raised platform. On the back is a chapel on a raised floor, on the back wall of which is a seated Buddha with Bodhisattva Padmapani and Vajrapani on each side.

DSC04929Cave 9: This has a well carved fa├žade as seen from the front. It consists of a small outer balcony and an inner covered portico with two pillars, square below, octagonal above. On the frieze above are carved three Chaitya window ornaments and at a higher level, other two – each row with half ones at the ends; and in the third and shorter belt, a single one. Each is these is occupied by a figure of Buddha, and between the projected members on which are carved many smaller human figures. On the back wall are two pilasters which divide the wall into three compartments. Buddha is seated in the center one with four dwarfs above. In the left is Padmapani with female attendants.

These three caves are so mixed, that we cannot recognize which is which. We now move on to the Viswakarma Cave, the only Chaitya in Ellora.

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