Final Shots

The great stupa is Sanchi's most important and best-conserved monument, but there are plenty of subsidiary sites there.  In its prime great stupa would have drawn devotees (and patronage) and so other people would have donated money for monuments there (or built them in the hope of receiving income).  This smaller stupa in the foreground is stupa number three, which also has a carved gateway at the south end, and behind it is the top of yet another stupa). 

 

November 2005

 

Here's another smaller stupa, this one built to the southwest of the Great Stupa, which is visible in the background.   This shows what the Great Stupa may have looked like before restoration--a simple rough core of bricks with an umbrella-shaped thing on top. 

 

 

November 2005

 

In later times Buddhists built shrines that looked a lot like the temples built by Hindus and Jains.  These are pillars from a Gupta Period (350-550 C.E.) temple.  Later temples even took on standard Hindu iconography, another temple on the property has an image of Goddess Ganga (the Ganges) on the left side of the doorway, and Goddess Yamuna (the Yamuna River) on the right.

November 2005

 

As Sanchi became an important religious site, people needed places to live.  This picture shows a vihara, a dwelling-place for Buddhist monks (you can see the little cells lining the outside wall, which would have been spaces for individual monks; the space in the middle would have been a common space).  The earliest Buddhists were adamant that the Buddha was an enlightened human being; he was to be followed, not worshipped.  Sanchi would have been a place to remind people of who the Buddha was and what he did.  For monks, it would have been a place to work on their spiritual development, and for lay people to create religious merit through pious donations (inscriptions record many of these). 

Photo taken in January 1989

 

This is a shell inscription, and was inscribed on one of the pillars lying around at Sanchi.  It is definitely writing (and not just decorative) but has never been decoded--the inscriptions are usually so short that there is very little copy to analyze. 

January 1989

 

With the passage of time, the Buddha began to be portrayed in iconic (figural) form, rather than by the symbols that had been used earlier.  The best guess is that this transition happened in the first or second century CE.  This image from Sanchi, set on the southwest side of the Great Stupa) shows the Buddha sitting in meditation, with the wheel-like halo behind his head, and protective deities around him. 

Photo taken January 1989.

 

Introduction East Gate:  Exterior / Interior West Gate: Exterior / Interior Final Shots
South Gate: Exterior / Interior North Gate: Exterior / Interior

 

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Last modified 27 December 2005