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The Great Stupa Gateway

Listed under Works of Art in Bhopal, India.

  • Photo of The Great Stupa Gateway
  • Photo of The Great Stupa Gateway
Photo of The Great Stupa Gateway
Photo by flickr user Carol Mitchell
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Between the 3rd and 12th centuries, during the rule of the Satavahna and Sunga dynasties, a number of Buddhist monuments were built at Sanchi to form a place of holy pilgrimage, near what is now nothing more than a tiny village near Bhopal in India.

The most complex and impressive of all these is a giant stupa, or Buddhist burial mound, which is guarded by four finely-detailed, carved stone gates. The life and attributes of the Buddha are represented in them with all the artistic perfection that religious fervour can bring; the lotus, which represents his birth, the bodhi tree, signifying his enlightenment, the wheel of nirvana and even his footprints are revealed in the greatest detail and held up for worship by all who visit the site.

Crowds of carved Indo-Greek figures cluster around these many facets of Buddha, dancing, singing, praying and celebrating as they watch him leaving home, walking on water, overcoming his enemies and providing divine inspiration at different periods in his life.

The gates are, unsurprisingly, regarded as key pieces in the foundation of all Indian art which followed.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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