CHAITYAS and VIHARAS
Chaityas are the halls enclosing
the stupas. Ashoka constructed eight rock-cut halls in the Barabar and
Nagarjuni hills and the one near Rajgir dedicated to Jaina monks. The Lomas
Rishi, the Sudama (both in the Barabar hills) and the Sita Marhi (Nagarjuni
hills) caves are fine examples of the Chaityas which resembled the wooden
buildings of the period.
More sophisticated rock-cut chaityas
developed later. The final form of rock-cut architecture that developed
from these early forms can be seen all over India in Andhra Pradesh, Kathiawar
in Gujarat and in Ajanta and Ellora. The rock formation in all these
areas were most suited for these rock cut structures. Alternating layers
of hard and soft rock prevents moisture from seeping inside.
They began the work from the top
and continued downward. The Buddhists were the main contributors to these
rock-cut monuments and best monuments are those found in Ajanta and Ellora
(vishwakarma cave- cave No.10). Fine sculptures adorn the walls. Figures
of Buddha in various poses were cut out.
Viharas are the dwelling places donated
to the normally wandering Buddhist monks. The earlier structures were made
of wood and soon developed from the primitive thatched huts into large
sangharamas. Pali texts indicate the structure of the viharas. In course
of time the sangharamas developed into educational institutions and centres
of Buddhist learning, such as those at Nalanda, Vikramasila, Somapura.
Hinayana viharas are seen in Ajanta, Ellora and in the Orissan hills
in the east coast and at Nasik, Bedsa, Kondane and Pitalkhora in the Western
Ghats. The development of Mahayana vihara can be traced only at Ajanta.