Northern Gateway, Exterior

I didn't get good photos of the exterior either in 1989 or in 2005, because I was there in winter both times, and the angle of the sun didn't allow it.  Here's a segment of the gateway showing a yakshi leaning against a tree, but this figure has none of the grace found in the yakshi sculpture in Sanchi's eastern gateway. 

As at the eastern gateway, the pillars here are supported by elephants.

November 2005

This image from shows the miracle of  Shravasti, in which the Buddha (here shown as a stupa) projected multiple images of himself and then flew in the air; both of these miracles were done as proof of his spiritual attainment.  The people of Shravasti were duly impressed, and became his disciples. 

One of the interesting things about Sanchi is what it shows about life at the time, and here below the Buddha is a well-documented troupe of musicians playing drums, pipes, horns (a special type known as a nagphani or snake's hood, hence the depiction), and various other instruments.

November 2005


This scene depicts a story in which a monkey offered honey to the Buddha--yet another sign of his dominion over all things.   The Buddha is present here as the tree, before which the three devotees at the lower left are prostrating themselves with folded hands.   This is one of eight important events in the Buddha's life (recorded on a sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago); Mitra (1965: 38) reports that this took place at Vaishali.

November 2005


The local sign board reports that this is the Buddha's descent from the Tushita heaven to take birth as Prince Siddhartha. The Buddha is visible as the tree in the lower left, attended above by a legion of celestial beings who are throwing flower garlands upon the earth in celebration.  The king and queen are under the royal umbrella, the queen has her hand raised to grip a tree branch (according to tradition the queen delivered the future Buddha while holding onto a tree branch for support, so here the tree serves both purposes).

Mitra (1965: 36) gives a different interpretation; that this shows the Buddha's return to parents' house at Kapilavastu to preach a sermon there.

November 2005

On to Next Page (Northern Gateway, Interior)


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


Buddhism Picture Index

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Page maintained by James G. Lochtefeld.
Last modified 27 December 2005