Rock-Cut Elephant, Stupa, Sanchi & Amravati Stupa for Rajasthan PSC Exam

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Rock-Cut Elephant, Dhauli, Odisha

Rock Cut Elephant
  • Has major Image of Court and Popular Art of Ashoka engraved
  • Concern for the “welfare of the whole world” .
  • The rock-cut elephant is above the Edicts.
  • The earliest Buddhist sculpture of Odisha.
  • The stone elephant shows the animal՚s foreparts only, though it has a fine sense of form and movement.
  • He built several chaitya, stupas, and pillars there. He got abodes excavated for the recluse, instructions inscribed for officials, expounded the main principles of dandaniti for the public, provided special status to his new kingdom including the stupas at Dhauli
  • Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where the Image of Court and Popular Art was fought.


  • Started during Vedic period
  • Flourished during Mauryan period.
  • Conventional representation of funerary mound
  • It was once the resting place of the bones and ashes of a holy man.
  • In the Buddhist traditions, originally, 9 stupas were constructed.
  • 8 stupas-ashes and relics of Buddha
  • 1 stupa-over the vessel in which such relics were originally kept.
  • Definition-Stupa is the Buddhist monument that is hemispherical dome with Buddha՚s relics inside.

Architecture of Stupa

Architecture of Stupa
  • Anda hemispherical dome
  • Medhi circular base with the enclosed walls.
  • Toran gateway
  • Vedika upraised platform
  • Chhatri 3 chhatras
  • Represents triratna Buddha, dharma, and sangha.
  • Core of the stupa unburned bricks
  • Outer surface burnt bricks with lime plaster.
  • Maximum stupas were constructed by Asoka.

Gateway of Stupas

Gateway of Stupas
  • The railing and gateways at Bharhut, Sanchi, and Bodh Gaya are the most famous in the north.
  • At Amravati and Nagarjunakonda in the South.
  • Upright pillars and cross bars, based on wooden construction, were made and provided the occasion for dome of the finest low relief carvings to be found anywhere in Indian art.
  • On these surfaces are carved the favourite symbols of Buddhism, the lotus, elephant, bull, lion and horse and some of the Jataka stories.
  • Depicted in low relief with such exuberant details that they are considered a landmark in the story of Indian art.

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa
  • Hemispherical in shape, with low base.
  • The existing stupa at Sanchi encloses the original stupa and has been enlarged.
  • It is enclosed within the stone railing or balustrade, when stone was adopted in the place of wood.
  • Circumambulatory path as well as the stone railing with four elegantly carved gateways in the four cardinal directions were added in st century B. C.
  • Originally wooden umbrella-represented royalty and dignity
  • Later it developed in composition on top of the dome, the Harmika; a square Buddhist railing from which rises the shaft that holds the imperial umbrella, sometimes single and later on multiplied to three or even more-3 chhatras (triratna) , diminishing in size as they go upwards.
  • Symbolized the cosmic mountain
  • Inscription by ivory carvers on the southern gateway-suggests the transference of stupa from wood and ivory to stone.

Amravati Stupa

Amravati Stupa
  • nd or st B. C.
  • Amravati, which was the capital of the ancient Satavahana dynasty, came under influence of the Buddhist faith through the Kushanas of Mathura.
  • Marbles used instead of bricks and stones.
  • Its Inner side has engraving of Buddha՚s life.
  • In later centuries, it was transformed from hinayan shrine to mahayan shrine.
    • Further development of stupas at sanchi and barhut
  • The base, dome, and hemisphere dome was sculpted.
  • Stupas of nagarjunkoda in Krishna valley-very large
  • Maha chaitya of nagarjunkoda has the base in the form of swastika-which represents the sun