General view of Sanchi Tope from south
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the stupa of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, from the south, taken by Deen Dayal in 1882, from the Lee-Warner Collection: 'Scenes and Sculptures of Central India, Photographed by Lala Deen Diyal, Indore.' The great stupa of Sanchi is the finest example of monumental architecture of the Shunga era (c.185-75 BC). It was first discovered in ruined conditions in 1819 and reconstructed at the beginning of the 20th century. 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 (reigned ca. 269-232 BC). The stupa was later enlarged around the 1st century BC under the Shungas. A processional path at the ground level is surrounded by a balustrade with posts and railings with four elaborately carved gateways or toranas at the cardinal points. These toranas are completely covered with sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Shakyamuni represented aniconically. This view shows the stupa before the restoration works.