Upper portion of eastern torana or gateway, Sanchi Tope
Photographer: Waterhouse, James
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the upper portion of the eastern torana or gateway of the stupa of Sanchi, 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. The eastern gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of elephants which support a triple architrave with scrolled ends. The sculptures which cover the torana illustrate episodes from the Jataka stories on the previous lives of the Buddha.