Pillars of east gate, Sanchi Tope
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the pillars of the eastern gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, 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 (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 with a group of four elephants supporting a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The posts are elaborately carved with scenes taken from the Jataka legends on the life of Buddha.