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Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi Stupa

Joydeep Chakraborty
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It is well accepted that the structures of Sanchi Stupa are the most organized construction which went into the engineering of temples in the medieval period. I want to know more about the Sanchi Stupa

Posted On : 04/15/09 3:01:08 AM

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Maniam PS
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Sanchi is a small village in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is located 46 km north east of Bhopal, and 10 km from Besnagar and Vidisha in the central part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the location of several Buddhist monuments dating from the third century BCE to the twelfth century CE. It is a nagar panchayat in Raisen district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Toranas surround the Stupa and they each represent love, peace, trust, and courage. The Great Stupa at Sanchi was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the third century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics The stupa was vandalized at one point, sometime in the second century BCE, an event some have related to the rise of the Sunga emperor Pusyamitra Sunga. It has been suggested that Pushyamitra may have destroyed the original stupa, and his son Agnimitra rebuilt it. 2 During the later rule of the Sunga, the stupa was expanded with stone slabs to almost twice its original size. The dome was flattened near the top and crowned by three superimposed parasols within a square railing. With its many tiers it was a symbol of the dharma, the Wheel of the Law. The dome was set on a high circular drum meant for circumambulation, which could be accessed via a double staircase. A second stone pathway at ground level was enclosed by a stone balustrade with four monumental gateways toranas facing the cardinal directions. The buildings which seem to have been commissioned during the rule of the Sungas are the Second and Third stupas but not the highly decorated gateways, which are from the following Satavahana period, as known from inscriptions , and the ground balustrade and stone casing of the Great Stupa. The gateways and the balustrade were built after 70 BCE, and appear to have been commissioned by the Satavahana. An inscription records the gift of one of the top architraves of the Southern Gateway by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni: Gift of Ananda, the son of Vasithi, the foreman of the artisans of rajan Siri Satakarni 3 . Although made of stone, they were carved and constructed in the manner of wood and the gateways were covered with narrative sculptures. They showed scenes from the life of the Buddha integrated with everyday events that would be familiar to the onlookers and so make it easier for them to understand the Buddhist creed as relevant to their lives. At Sanchi and most other stupas the local population donated money for the embellishment of the stupa to attain spiritual merit. There was no direct royal patronage. Devotees, both men and women, who donated money towards a sculpture would often choose their favourite scene from the life of the Buddha and then have their names inscribed on it. This accounts for the random repetition of particular episodes on the stupa Dehejia 1992 . On these stone carvings the Buddha was never depicted as a human figure. Instead the artists chose to represent him by certain attributes, such as the horse on which he left his father s home, his footprints, or a canopy under the bodhi tree at the point of his enlightenment. The human body was thought to be too confining for the Buddha. Further stupas and other religious Buddhist and early Hindu structures were added over the following centuries until the 12th century CE. Temple 17 is probably one of the earliest Buddhist temples as it dates to the early Gupta period. It consists of a flat roofed square sanctum with a portico and four pillars. The interior and three sides of the exterior are plain and undecorated but the front and the pillars are elegantly carved, giving the temple an almost classical appearance Mitra 1971 . With the decline of Buddhism in India, the monuments of Sanchi went out of use and fell into a state of disrepair. A British officer in 1818, General Taylor, was the first known Western historian to document in English the existence of Sanchi. Amateur archaeologists and treasure hunters ravaged the site until 1881, when proper restoration work was initiated. Between 1912 and 1919 the structures were restored to their present condition under the supervision of Sir John Marshall. 5 Today, around fifty monuments remain on the hill of Sanchi, including three stupas and several temples. The monuments have been listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1989.

Posted On : 04/15/09 9:02:29 AM

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Anju Malhotra
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
From around 220BC to 236AD the Satavahana Dynasty ruled much of Central and Southern India Sanchi is most famous for its sculptures, crafted only two or three hundred years after the historical Buddha left. Most travel sites also have photos of some of these. The early stupas started as mounds of earth, faced with stone, surrmounted by a three part umbrella. Representing the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha . At the very top of the umbrella there was usually a small railing. Around the mound there was a path, for circumambulation. This path was enclosed by a railing, with gates at each of the four directions. The railing and the gates were oftern richly sculptured. If you go looking through the travel pages, you will find many photos of the gates, and their elaborate sculptures, still standing after over 2,000 years. When the British came to India, this stupa was quite delapidated. Buddhism had been virtually wiped out in its country of origin by then. The archaeological Survey of India did a beautiful restoration job. One of the most interesting features of all the sculpture here is the lack of images of the Buddha in human form. He is represented symbolically by a Wheel, or Footprints, or Throne.

Posted On : 04/15/09 9:55:18 PM

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Ragamala Chakraborty
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Located on the foot of a hill- Sanchi is just 46 kms. from Bhopal. It is more of a village than a town. Sanchi is a religious place with historical and archaeological significance. Sanchi is known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The place is related to Buddhism but not directly to the life of Buddha. It is more related to Ashoka than to Buddha. Ashoka built the first Stupa and put up many pillars here. The crown of famous Ashoka pillars, with four lions standing back to back, has been adopted as the national emblem of India. Sanchi adopted Buddhism, which replaced the prominent Hinduism. But time took its toll and slowly both the Stupas and the place was forgotten. In 1818 Sanchi was rediscovered and gradually historical and the religious significance of the place was recognized. Restoration work of the Stupas started in 1881 and finally between 1912 and 1919 these were carefully repaired and restored. It was accepted that the structure at Sanchi were the most organized construction which went into the engineering of temples in the medieval period. The carvings here are done with the precision of Jewellers. Despite the damage and restoration work done Sanchi is the most evocative and attractive Buddhist site in India. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the gorgeous gateways add grace to the place. These gateways are beautifully carved and carry scenes from the life of Buddha or Ashoka. These gateways are the finest specimens of early classical art, which formed the seedbed of entire vocabulary of later Indian art. The images carved on the pillars and the Stupas tell moving stories of the incidents from the life of Buddha.

Posted On : 04/16/09 2:19:53 AM

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Gaurav Soni
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Stupas are those tombs that were made on the relies of Buddha or Buddhist monks. Ashoka, the great emperor of Mauryan dynasty got built many stupas out of which stupa of Sanchi is famous for its magnificence. This is situated in Madhya Pradesh near Vidisha town. This is a solid structure of round shape crowned by an umbrella of a stone. It has two parts Vedikas and Vaishtinies. There vedikas are surrounded by a circumambulation called vaishtinies. There are four gateways around the stupa, which are strikingly artistic. These gateways depict events from the life of Buddha and from Jataka tales.

Posted On : 04/29/09 3:07:14 AM

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