Post-Mauryan Period: Caves, Stupas, and Sculptures for Competitive Exams

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Post-Mauryan Period

  • Mauryan period climax of pillar and stupa
  • Post-mauryan period climax of sculpture
  • important developments
  • Caves
  • Stupa
  • sculpture


  • In mauryan-there were only vihars
  • Now types of caves:
  • vihar residence or rest places
  • Chaitya prayer halls.
  • For ex. , Ajanta has caves chaitya and vihar.
  • Famous caves of this period
  • Chaitya karle chaitya
  • Vihar Nasik Vihar

Karle Chaitya

Karle Chaitya
  • Largest Chaitya griha among all Buddhist monuments in India.
  • A huge lion pillars in front of Chaitya griha (only two caves have this design Karla and Kanheri) has been excavated from the living rock and is unparalleled for its lofty and elevated impression.

Vihars of Nasik

IVihars of Nasik
  • Also known as Pandu Leni.
  • A group of caves.
  • Representing the Hinayana Buddhist caves and has nothing to do with the characters of Mahabharata (the Pandavas) .
  • Most of the caves are Viharas except for the th cave, which is a Chaitya.
  • The caves lodge idols of Buddha and Bodhisattva.
  • Some caves are intricately connected by stone-cut ladders that join them to the other caves
  • contain interesting sculptures
  • The caves were called Pundru, which in Pali language means “yellow ochre color” .


Images of Stupas
  • Enlarged stupas compared to Mauryan period.
  • Gateways (torans) are now more intricately decorated.
  • Stupa has cylindrical drum shape.
  • Octagone shaped pillars behind Stupa, without any decoration.


  • Reached at its climax
  • Buddha is never represented in human form in Buddhist art before the Christian era,
  • The adherents of the Buddhist faith followed the Hinayana path as a means of attaining salvation.
  • Buddha՚s presence in early Indian art is, therefore, suggested by symbols like the Bodhi tree under which he attained enlightenment, the wheel of law, his foot prints, the royal umbrella, the stupa and an empty throne, etc.
  • This change came about because of the new changes that had crept into the religious outlook of Buddhism due to the influence of the Devotional School of Hindu Philosophy, requiring the worship of personal gods.