Front view of the North Gateway of the Great Stupa before restoration, Sanchi, Bhopal State
Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the North Gateway of the Great Stupa of Sanchi before restoration, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Joseph David Beglar in the 1870s. 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 to the time of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya. Four elaborately carved gateways were added to the stupa during the 1st Century BC. When General Taylor came across the stupa in 1818, the North gateway was unstable because of cracks in the right post. Once secured in 1881, it consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants which support an architrave with scrolled ends. The sculptures on the architraves represent the Miracle of Sravasti, Buddha teaching at Sravasti, the departure of Buddha from the palace and other scenes.