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View of [the modern temple at] Sarnath [with the Dhamekh stupa in the background.

View of [the modern temple at] Sarnath [with the Dhamekh stupa in the background.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 50/2(63)

Item number: 50263

Genre: Photograph

Photographic print of the modern temple at Sarnath taken in the 1880s by an unknown photographer. Sarnath is one of the four most important places of pilgrimage for Buddhists in India. It was the site of the Buddha's first sermon often referred to as the 'turning of the wheel of law'. The site incorporates a large number of different shrines however the most visually impressive is the Damekh stupa which can be seen in the background of this photograph. Parts of this stupa date as far back as the 5th-6th century. The foundation date of the stupa is unknown as the earliest sections are entirely enclosed by later additions. The stupa consists of a cylindrical tower more than 30 metres high, a solid structure with a drum of stonework decorated in the upper part with designs from the Gupta period such as luxuriant foliation with stalks, leaves and flowers, birds and geometric patterns. The temple in the foreground is relatively modern in comparison and was erected in 1824 as a Jain shrine.

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