Rear view southern gate of Sanchi Tope (as restored)
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the rear view of the southern gateway of Sanchi stupa in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Deen Dayal in 1882, from the Lee-Warner Collection: 'Scenes and Sculptures of Central India, Photographed by Lala Deen Diyal, Indore.'
The photograph shows portions of the gateway with modern filling. The great stupa of Sanchi is the finest example of monumental architecture 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 during the reign of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya (reigned c.269-232 BC). The stupa was later enlarged around the 1st century BC under the Shungas and four elaborately carved gateways or toranas were added at the cardinal points. The southern gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four lions seated back to back. These support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The gateway is completely covered with sculptures depicting various episodes of the life of Buddha Shakyamuni represented aniconically. These depict from top to bottom stupas and trees of the Manushi Buddhas, a scene from the Chhaddanta Jataka in which an elephant is being shot by a hunter and the war over the Buddha's relics.