- April 18, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject : Art & Architecture
Context : Built by emperor Ashoka, in the third century BC to accommodate the relics of Gautam Buddha, the Sanchi Stupa is taken into account one of the greatest surviving examples of Buddhist structure.
- Sanchi Stupa is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1989. Sanchi is in Madhya Pradesh.
- There are many small stupas here with three mains ones – stupa 1, stupa 2 and stupa 3. Stupa 1 is also called the Great Stupa at Sanchi. It is the most prominent and the oldest and is believed to have the Buddha’s relics.
- It was built by Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.
- Originally, it was smaller than its present dimensions. It was expanded in later periods.
- The original structure was made out of bricks. Later on, it was covered with stone, vedica, and the torana (gateway).
- There are four gateways to the stupa with the southern one being built first. The others were later added.
- The gateways are adorned with beautiful sculptures and carvings. Each torana consists of two vertical pillars and three horizontal bars on top. The bars contain exquisite carvings on front and back.
- They contain images of shalbhanjikas – lady holding the branch of a tree. Stories from the Jataka tales are carved here.
- The structure has a lower and upper pradakshinapatha or circumambulatory path. The upper pradakshinapatha is unique to this stupa.
- On the southern side of the stupa, the Ashokan Lion Capital pillar is found with inscriptions on it.
- The hemispherical dome of the stupa is called the anda. It contains the relics of the Buddha.
- The harmika is a square railing on top of the dome/mound.
- The chhatra is an umbrella on top of the harmika. There is a sandstone pillar in the site on which Ashoka’s Schism Edict is inscribed.
- The original brick dome was expanded into double its size during the reign of the Shunga dynasty with stone slabs covering the original dome.