Side view of the East Gateway of the Great Stupa before restoration, Sanchi, Bhopal State
Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the side view of the east gateway of the Great Stupa of Sanchi before restoration, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Joseph David Beglar in the 1870s. General Taylor encountered the stupa at Sanchi in1818, making him the first European to discover this Buddhist monument. The stupa was in very ruinous conditions; extensive repair works were undertaken and by 1883 the Eastern gateway had been secured. The stupa is the most important surviving monument of the Shunga era. 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 Maurya. Four elaborately carved gateways called toranas were added to the stupa during the 1st Century BC. These consist of two square posts supporting a triple architrave with volute ends. The sculptures which cover the torana illustrate episodes from the life of Buddha.