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Konark Sun Temple
Red Fort India
Lord Buddha
Fatehpur Sikri
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur - Rajasthan (India)

Sanchi Stupa

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Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh, IndiaThe Satavahana Dynasty ruled much of Central and Southern India from around 220BC to 236AD and Sanchi Stupa is most famous for its sculptures, crafted only two or three hundred years after the death of lord Buddha. One of the best preserved early stupas stand at Sanchi in central India. The largest, known as the Great Stupa, is surrounded by a railing with four carved gateways facing the all four directions.

One of the most interesting features of all the sculpture here is the lack of images of the Buddha in human form. Stylized depictions of nature - of birds and animals and floral vines and trees are exquisite in their execution. Presently under an UNESCO project Sanchi and Satdhara, a Buddhist site, 10 km southeast of Sanchi, is being further excavated, conserved and environmentally developed.

Sanchi, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is globally renown for its many stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The most famous amongst these, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjaini. His daughter and son, Sanghamitra and Mahindra respectively, were sent to Sri Lanka where they converted the king, queen and the local people to Buddhism.

Symbolic Representation
The framework of Sanchi stupa reflects the people's love of nature. The most frequently shown flower is the lotus, which has a special meaning. The lotus grows from the mud at the bottom of a pond or river but produces a beautiful white blossom. Buddhists believe that, like the lotus, people can rise from the mud of materialism into the sunlight. The decoration of the stupa gateways also includes male and female tree spirits. The female tree spirits are symbols of fertility and often clutch overhanging trees full of flowers or fruit. They were used by the Buddhists as welcoming figures on the gateways.

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