Udayagiri). The Ranigumpha at Udayagiri, also double-storeyed, has three
ranges of cells on three sides of an open courtyard.
The classic plan of cells emanating from a central quadrangular hall and
the facade opening out into a pillared verandah acquired final shape in the
rock-cut monasteries of Western India. Like the chaitya shrines they can also
be seen into two groups signifying two phases of development. The early
group is marked by simple decoration in the form of structural motifs both in
the facade and on the doorways of the monastic cells in the interior. The most
notable in this group are Ajanta, (VIII, XII and XIII), Nasik, (X and III), the
Ganesha lena at Junnar and the monastic caves at Kondane and Pitalkhora.
They belong to the centuries immediately preceding and succeeding the
Christian era. While the last two caves introduce the new feature of pillars
forming a square at the centre of the hall, Karle has examples of storeyed
viharas of the rock-cut order. Both of them went through interesting
developments in the later phase.
The rock-cut method climaxes during the 4th to the 8th centuries AD. The
rock-cut monastery becomes larger and more decorated as in the vihara caves
at Ajanta (XVI, XVII, XXIV), Ellora (II, V, VIII, IX, XI, XII) and
Aurangabad (III, VII), all in Maharashtra, and Bagh in Madhya Pradesh. The
classic plan remains, but with notable innovations. Of diverse designs and
with rich embellishments, the pillars and their architraves enhance the
decorative beauty of the spacious interior, further improved at Ajanta and
Bagh by exquisite paintings. A further addition is the location in each
monastery of a chapel or sanctuary; the image of the Master is installed in a
chamber at the middle of the rear end of the hall. At Aurangabad (VII) and
Ellora (VIII), the image sanctuary in each case is situated as a free-standing
shrine at the centre of the monastic hall. Again, at Ellora (II and XII, second
storey) the central halls have galleries for images instead of monastic cells on
the lateral sides.
Brahmanical and Jaina Caves
The earliest of the Brahmanical shrines are to be seen in group of caves at
Udayagiri in Madhya Pradesh (early 5th century AD). Most of them represent
small rectangular shrines with