Eastern view of Sanchi Tope
Photographer: Waterhouse, James
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the stupa of Sanchi from the east, taken by James Waterhouse in 1861. The great stupa of Sanchi is the most important surviving monument of the Shunga era (c.185-75 BC). It consists of a large hemispherical dome which was built over an already existing stupa ascribed to the 3rd century BC from the time of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (c.269-232 BC). Four elaborately carved gateways (toranas) were added to the stupa during the 1st century BC and the eastern gateway is depicted in this photograph. Although there is no known direct connection between the monument and the Buddha, it is possible that it contained a portion of the relics of the Buddha which were redistributed by Ashoka.