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Ellora Cave Temples
Cave 17
Facade

1950 (_CAV2251.jpg)
Main entrance

The plinth on which the porch rests was relieved, in the style of the Early Kalacuri period, with heavy moldings, bordered above with alternating panels of dwarfs and floral sprays, now ruinous.

1951 (_CAV2252.jpg)
Plinth detail

The plinth on which the porch rests was relieved, in the style of the Early Kalacuri period, with heavy moldings, bordered above with alternating panels of dwarfs and floral sprays, now ruinous.

1952 (_CAV2253.jpg)
1 of 2>>Kubera - unfinished

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

1953 (_CAV2254.jpg)
Vishnu

From the porch, which was provided with comfortable benches (now much restored) connecting the pillars on either side one can see a shrinelet for the pot-bellied and four faced Brahma on the right, facing a similar shrinelet with a standing Vishnu on the left. As expected, the priestly Brahma wears a jata (ascetic's) headdress, while the more regal Vishnu wears a crown. Vishnu's hands are broken, but Brahma's hands show (from the left) the rosary, abhaya (reassurance) mudra, broken (but probably held amrita flask), and (perhaps) a bent danda. Both gods are honored by flying dwarfs, and by female attendants below. The latter are probably goddesses, but are hard to identify. Perhaps the figure to Brahma's proper left is his consort Saraswati, with her water-jug, and the other Savitri.

1954 (_CAV2255.jpg)
Brahma

From the porch, which was provided with comfortable benches (now much restored) connecting the pillars on either side one can see a shrinelet for the pot-bellied and four faced Brahma on the right, facing a similar shrinelet with a standing Vishnu on the left. As expected, the priestly Brahma wears a jata (ascetic's) headdress, while the more regal Vishnu wears a crown. Vishnu's hands are broken, but Brahma's hands show (from the left) the rosary, abhaya (reassurance) mudra, broken (but probably held amrita flask), and (perhaps) a bent danda. Both gods are honored by flying dwarfs, and by female attendants below. The latter are probably goddesses, but are hard to identify. Perhaps the figure to Brahma's proper left is his consort Saraswati, with her water-jug, and the other Savitri.

1955 (_CAV2256.jpg)
1 of 2>>Facade detail

1956 (_CAV2257.jpg)
1 of 2>>Column detail

1957 (_CAV2258.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

1958 (_CAV2259.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

1959 (_CAV2260.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other. This emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends to the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1960 (_CAV2261.jpg)
Main hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

1961 (_CAV2262.jpg)
Ganesa

Broken-tusked sonof Siva, Ganesa, at sits on the left of the main mandapa with a cobra around his waist and holding his axe, a rosary, and a flower, while consuming laddus. Below Ganesa are music-making dwarfs, that at the right with a stringed instrument, while the other, painfully constricted, playing cymbals.

1962 (_CAV2263.jpg)
Mahisasuramardini

Siva's consort Durga sits to the right of the main mandapa, triumphing over the buffalo demon. She holds the trident, the sword, and the cakra (wheel).

1963 (_CAV2264.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

1964 (_CAV2265.jpg)
1 of 2>>

1965 (_CAV2266.jpg)
1 of 2>>Main hal

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

1966 (_CAV2267.jpg)
<<2 of 2Main hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

1967 (_CAV2268.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1968 (_CAV2269.jpg)
<<2 of 2Main hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

1969 (_CAV2270.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1970 (_CAV2271.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

1971 (_CAV2272.jpg)
Lingam

The shrine contains a monolithic pitha with a set-in lingam. From such an Early Kalacuri cave as expected the pitha is square, while the lingam still has only two sections - square and round.

1972 (_CAV2273.jpg)
Lingam

The shrine contains a monolithic pitha with a set-in lingam. From such an Early Kalacuri cave as expected the pitha is square, while the lingam still has only two sections - square and round.

1973 (_CAV2274.jpg)
Lingam

The shrine contains a monolithic pitha with a set-in lingam. From such an Early Kalacuri cave as expected the pitha is square, while the lingam still has only two sections - square and round.

1974 (_CAV2275.jpg)
Lingam

The shrine contains a monolithic pitha with a set-in lingam. From such an Early Kalacuri cave as expected the pitha is square, while the lingam still has only two sections - square and round.

1975 (_CAV2276.jpg)
Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1976 (_CAV2277.jpg)
Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1977 (_CAV2278.jpg)
Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1978 (_CAV2279.jpg)

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Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1979 (_CAV2280.jpg)

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Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1980 (_CAV2281.jpg)

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Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

1981 (_CAV2282.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

1982 (_CAV2283.jpg)
Shrine doorway detail

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

1983 (_CAV2284.jpg)
Shrine doorway detail

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

1984 (_CAV2285.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1985 (_CAV2286.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1986 (_CAV2287.jpg)
1 of 2>>Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1987 (_CAV2288.jpg)
<<2 of 2Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1988 (_CAV2289.jpg)
1 of 2>>Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1989 (_CAV2290.jpg)
Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1990 (_CAV2291.jpg)
Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

1991 (_CAV2292.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1992 (_CAV2293.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1993 (_CAV2294.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1994 (_CAV2295.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1995 (_CAV2296.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1996 (_CAV2297.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1997 (_CAV2298.jpg)
Dwarapala - detail

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

1998 (_CAV2299.jpg)
Ganesa

Broken-tusked sonof Siva, Ganesa, at sits on the left of the main mandapa with a cobra around his waist and holding his axe, a rosary, and a flower, while consuming laddus. Below Ganesa are music-making dwarfs, that at the right with a stringed instrument, while the other, painfully constricted, playing cymbals.

1999 (_CAV2300.jpg)
Main Hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

2000 (_CAV2301.jpg)


6004 (_ELO6640.JPG)


6006 (_ELO6642.JPG)


6007 (_ELO6643.JPG)


6008 (_ELO6644.JPG)


6010 (_ELO6646.JPG)


6011 (_ELO6647.JPG)


6012 (_ELO6648.JPG)


6013 (_ELO6649.JPG)


6014 (_ELO6650.JPG)


6015 (_ELO6651.JPG)

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6016 (_ELO6652.JPG)


6017 (_ELO6653.JPG)
Lingam

The shrine contains a monolithic pitha with a set-in lingam. From such an Early Kalacuri cave as expected the pitha is square, while the lingam still has only two sections - square and round.

5219 (c17_linga.jpg)
<<2 of 2Kubera - unfinished

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

5220 (c17_rW-kubera.jpg)
Ceiling detail

On the ceiling in front of the shrine doorway a projecting lotus medallion has been carved in the center, with four smaller ones in the quadrants of the ceiling, which is a unique feature developed in this cave.

5221 (c17AC.jpg)
Plinth detail

5225 (c17F_detail.jpg)
<<2 of 2Facade detail

5226 (c17F_detail2.jpg)
Facade detail

5227 (c17F_detail3.jpg)
Facade detail

5228 (c17F_lintel.jpg)
Side Chambers

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

5222 (c17F.jpg)
Facade

5223 (c17F2.jpg)
Side chamber

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

5224 (c17F3.jpg)
Side chamber

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

5229 (c17Fl.jpg)
Side chamber

The pillared chamber at the left of Cave 17's court opens into a small underground cistern at its rear (east) end; it is likely that had time allowed the reservoir would have been greatly enlarged, like the similarly located ones in Caves 21 and 14. In the similar chamber on the opposite side of the court a single male figure with a crown has been barely started (seen here). Although it is hard to be certain, this may well be a representation of Kubera, who is so often honored at the site.

5230 (c17Fl2.jpg)
Femalr bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5231 (c17Flr.jpg)
Facade detail

5232 (c17Fr.jpg)
Brahma

From the porch, which was provided with comfortable benches (now much restored) connecting the pillars on either side one can see a shrinelet for the pot-bellied and four faced Brahma on the right, facing a similar shrinelet with a standing Vishnu on the left. As expected, the priestly Brahma wears a jata (ascetic's) headdress, while the more regal Vishnu wears a crown. Vishnu's hands are broken, but Brahma's hands show (from the left) the rosary, abhaya (reassurance) mudra, broken (but probably held amrita flask), and (perhaps) a bent danda. Both gods are honored by flying dwarfs, and by female attendants below. The latter are probably goddesses, but are hard to identify. Perhaps the figure to Brahma's proper left is his consort Saraswati, with her water-jug, and the other Savitri.

5233 (c17FWrI.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5234 (c17H.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5235 (c17H2.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5247 (c17HP_detail.jpg)
Column detail

5248 (c17HP_detail2.jpg)
Column detail

5249 (c17HP_detail3.jpg)
Column base - detail

5250 (c17HP_detail4.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5251 (c17HP_detail5.jpg)
Column

5236 (c17HP.jpg)
Main hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

5237 (c17HP10.jpg)
1 of 2>>Column

5238 (c17HP11.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other. The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends to the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5239 (c17HP2.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other. The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends to the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5240 (c17HP3.jpg)
<<2 of 2Column

5241 (c17HP4.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other. The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends to the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5242 (c17HP5.jpg)
Column detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5243 (c17HP6.jpg)
Columns

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5244 (c17HP7.jpg)
Main hall

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. There is no shrine antechamber, although an ambulatory surrounds the shrine; and for the first time one both entered and left the ambulatory through carefully defined doorways.

5245 (c17HP8.jpg)
<<2 of 2Column base - detail

The emphasis on the feminine which has been emerging throughout the Early Kalacuri period extends beyond the bracket figures to also the elaborate decoration of the bases of the rear central pair of pillars. All four sides (where fully completed) have carvings of a beautiful female occupying the central panel, with attendant males on either side.

5246 (c17HP9.jpg)
Ganesa

Broken-tusked sonof Siva, Ganesa, at sits on the left of the main mandapa with a cobra around his waist and holding his axe, a rosary, and a flower, while consuming laddus. Below Ganesa are music-making dwarfs, that at the right with a stringed instrument, while the other, painfully constricted, playing cymbals.

5252 (c17HWlI_ganesa.jpg)
Mahisasuramardini

Siva's consort Durga sits to the right of the main mandapa, triumphing over the buffalo demon. She holds the trident, the sword, and the cakra (wheel).

5254 (c17HWrI_mahishasura.jpg)
Mahisasuramardini

Siva's consort Durga sits to the right of the main mandapa, triumphing over the buffalo demon. She holds the trident, the sword, and the cakra (wheel).

5255 (c17HWrI_mahishasura2.jpg)


5253 (c17HWrI.jpg)
Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5256 (c17P_detail.jpg)
<<2 of 2Female bracket figures

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave, while both the front and rear center pillars have equally beautiful brackets on their rear faces, the important rear pillars also having them on the front face. Similar to Cave 21, these female bracket figures generally have an attendant female (sometimes a female dwarf) on one side and an old and/or crippled man with a cane on the other.

5257 (c17P_detail2.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

5259 (c17SD_detail.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

5260 (c17SD_detail3.jpg)
Shrine doorway

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

5258 (c17SD.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5261 (c17SDl.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5262 (c17SDlI.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5263 (c17SDlI2.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5264 (c17SDr.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5265 (c17SDrI.jpg)
Dwarapala

The connection between Cave 17 and 21 is most apparent through the images of these dwarapalas. They have much of the same "Elephanta"-type grace that survives, a bit tenuously, in the related figures in Cave 21. And they are similarly posed, each holding a lotus in the proper right hand. As in most Early Kalacuri examples the expected dwarfs above fly toward the shrine, while a single attendant below functions as an ayudhapurusa. This is suggested by the burly form and the mustachioed mien of the dwarf beside the right dvarapala, who appears to hold both a lotus flower and a noose. The other figure is harder to "read" as an ayudhapurusa, for he appears rather old and/or crippled, leaning on his staff. But he is quite directly copied from a counterpart in Cave 26, who also has the three tufts (of hair?) on his forehead and is possibly wearing the hair behind in a snood.

5266 (c17SDrI2.jpg)
Seated figure

5198 (DSCN5136.jpg)
Shrine doorway detail

The shrine doorway decoration announces a dependency on Cave 21, for it is clearly a somewhat less successful copy of that great portal's rich design. The decoration is only half-finished, and some of the details, such as the figures on the unfinished left jamb, are very fine; but the whole lintel carving reduces the vigor of Cave 21's design and overcrowds the converging celestials above, so that much of the impact is lost.

5267 (S17SD_detail4.jpg)

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