Chaitya Hall, Karli
Chaitya Hall was built between 50 and 70 AD in India. Unlike many other buildings that were built atop of or at least out of stone and earth, Chaitya Hall was built into a hill, carved and sculpted out of the rock itself and enhanced wooden timbers that so that the hall is modeled after earlier temples made from wood and bamboo.
It is the pinnacle of temple building in this style and is still a well preserved cave temple today, making a popular tourist site. Chaitya Hall was built to worship Buddha, as is evidenced by the beautiful columns inside that are covered in carvings of Buddha’s life and work. However, it is unknown who designed Chaitya Hall or the elaborate carvings inside.
Chaityas were perfected in the Shunga dynasty after the fall of the Mauryan Emperor. These temples carved into stone hills and were usually beneath small stupas. The dwelling place of the monks was carved into the chaitya, made out of the stone of the mound.
Chaitya Hall at Karli is the largest of all of the chaityas built over this time period and is one of the most famous. However, it is still unknown who began the building of these Chaityas, other than they were built by and for Buddhists.