Pillar carvings East gate, Sanchi 'Tope'
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of carvings on the inside of the left post of the eastern gateway of Sanchi stupa, taken by Deen Dayal 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 under the reign of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya (reigned c.269-232 BC). Four elaborately carved gateways or torana were added to the stupa during the 1st century BC. The eastern gateway consists of two square posts crowned by four elephants supporting a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The sculptures that cover the gateway depict scenes from the Buddhist Jataka legends. The upper scene on the post in this view represents the Buddha symbolised by a garlanded parasol attended by two worshippers surrounded by animals. Indra and Brahma in the centre right are approaching the parasol.