Buddhist Stupa-art & Narratives

The Stupas were erected in the honour of the Buddha and was one of the main features of propagating and establishing Buddhism. They depict a shift from the burial mound, its predecessor and symbolise the Buddhist teachings.

Structure of the Stupa

1) Anda : The main structure of the Great Stupa consisted a flat hemispherical dome, called an anda. It was placed onto of a cylindrical base. The anda signifies a symbol of connection with the eternal.

2) Harmika : Located at the summit of the anda, it symbolised that the individual should let go of the worldly desires to reach the top.

3) Toranga : They are placed in each of the four directions and contain the Jatakas (stories of Buddha’s life and events).

4) Cicum ambulatory path : They symbolise the earth’s revolution around the sun.

5) Parasol : It symbolised the sacred tree of life.

6) Chatri : The three elements of the Chatri represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism : Buddha, Dharma and Sangha

7) Vedikas : They were present around the Stupa and on the terrace on which the anda rested.

Thus, we can say that the Stupa’s while depicting folk motifs also expounded Buddhist ideals.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives, successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.

Published: December 5, 2016 | Modified:December 24, 2019

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