Pillars of the eastern torana or gateway of Sanchi Tope, from the left
Photographer: Waterhouse, James
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the pillars of the eastern torana or gateway of Sanchi stupa, from the left, 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 from the time of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (c. 269-232 BC). Four elaborately carved gateways were added to the stupa during the 1st century BC. These consist of two square posts supporting a triple architrave with scrolled ends and are entirely covered of carved panels representing various scenes taken from the Jataka legends on the life of the Buddha.