Pillars of the eastern torana or gateway of Sanchi Tope, from the right
Photographer: Waterhouse, James
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the pillars of the eastern torana or gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, from the right, taken by James Waterhouse in 1861. 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 (c. 269-232 BC). Four elaborately carved gateways or toranas were added to the stupa during the 1st century BC. The eastern torana consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants which support a triple architrave with scrolled ends and are entirely covered with sculptural panels depicting scenes from the Jataka legends on the life of Buddha.