Front view of West Gateway of the Great Stupa after restoration, Sanchi, Bhopal State
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the west gateway of the Great Stupa of Sanchi after restoration, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Deen Dayal in 1883. 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 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 various parts of the southern and western gateway were lying on the ground. They were reconstructed by 1883. The Western Gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four pot-bellied dwarfs which support a triple architrave with volute ends. The sculptures on the posts represent the Paradise of Indra, the visit of Indra and other gods to the Buddha and a scene from the Mahakapi Jataka; the carvings on the architraves depict the sermon of the Buddha at Sarnath, bodhi trees and trees and stupas of the Manushi Buddhas.