The next cave is locally known as the Sutâr ka jhoprâ or Viśwakarma, and is much frequented by carpenters who come to worship the image of Buddha as Viśwakarma, the patron of their craft. It is the only Chaitya cave here, the cathedral temple of the Buddhist caves. And, though not so magnificent in its proportions, or severe in its decoration, as the great cave at Kârlê, it is still a splendid work, with a large open court in front surrounded by a corridor, and a frieze above its pillars carved with representations of the chase, &c. The inner temple, consisting of a central nave and side aisles, measures 85 feet 10 inches by 43, and 34 feet high. (See plan, Plate LXII.) The nave is separated from the aisles by 28 octagonal pillars, 14 feet high, with plain bracket capitals, while two more square ones, just inside the entrance, support the gallery above, and cut off the front aisle. The remote end of the nave is nearly filled by a high dâgoba, 15 feet in diameter, and nearly 27 feet high, which, unlike older examples, has a large frontispiece, nearly 17 feet high, attached to it—as on that in the Caves Nos. XIX. and XXVI. at Ajaṇṭâ—on which is a colossal seated figure of Buddha, 11 feet high, with his feet down, and his usual attendants, while on the arch over his head is carved his Bodhi-tree, with gandharas on each side.
The arched roof is carved in imitation of wooden ribs, each rising from behind a little Nâga bust, alternately male and female, and joining a ridge piece above. The triforium or deep frieze above the pillars is divided into two belts, the lower and narrower carved with crowds of fat little gambolling figures (gaṇas) in all attitudes. The upper is much deeper, and is divided over each pillar so as to form compartments, each usually containing a seated Buddha with two attendants and two standing Buddhas or Bôdhisattvas. The inner side of the gallery over the entrance is also divided into three compartments filled with figures.
At the ends of the front corridor, outside, are two cells and two chapels with the usual Buddhist figures repeated. From the west end of the north corridor a stair ascends to the gallery above, which consists of an outer one over the corridor, and an inner one over the front aisle, separated by the two pillars that divide the lower portion of the great window into three lights. The pillars of these corridors are generally of great elegance, having tall square bases changing into octagons, and then to 16 and even more sides, and under the capitals returning to the square by the "vase and falling leaf pattern" (see Plate LXIII.). The most remarka.ble feature, however, of the façade of this cave is that instead of the great horseshoe window, which is characteristic of the Chaitya caves, from the earliest at Bhâjâ to the latest at Ajaṇṭâ, we here find it cut up into three divisions, like a modern Venetian window, with an Attic window over the centre opening. Then for the first time we begin to lose all trace of the wooden forms with which we have so long been familiar, and find at last Buddhist architecture assuming lithic forms, from which all trace of their origin would soon disappear, but as this cave is the last of its class that is known to exist, we are unable to say what the next change would be, but we may safely predict that it would be even more appropriate to stone architecture than even this façade.
From the outer area, four small chapels are entered, each containing sculptures of Buddhist mythology, and where the very elaborate headdresses of the females of that period may be studied. Over the chapel to the right, of the window is a remarkable group of fat little figures (gaṇa), similar to those in the Rameśwara Brahmanical cave near by; and the projecting frieze that crowns the façade is elaborately sculptured with pairs of figures in compartments.
High up on each side are two small chapels, difficult of access, and not especially interesting.
From the developed state of the mythological sculptures on the balcony and dâgoba, the ornate headdresses of the figures, and the very marked departure in architectural style in this from the other Chaitya caves, we can hardly assign it a date earlier than first half of the seventh century A.D. Much later we can hardly venture to place it, because after that period we have little evidence that works of the kind were executed by Buddhists.