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Buddhist Architecture

Azizur khan

Buddhist Architecture
Principal place of early Buddhist worship is the

stupa. Mound shaped shrine with no interior. A stupa is a reliquary and worshipers gain spiritual merit through being in close proximity to its contents. Buddhists pray while walking around stupa in an easterly direction (direction of suns course). Central mast at top of stupa with 3 umbrella shapes (Chatras). Symbolizes three jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Law, and the community of monks).

Great Stupa Sanchi, India

The stupa is the most characteristic monument of Buddhist India. Originally stupas were mounds covering the relics of the Buddha or his

followers. In its earliest stages Buddhist art didn't represent the Buddha directly. Instead, his presence was alluded to through symbols such as the bo tree, the wheel of law or his footprint. The stupa also became a symbol of the Buddha.

Great Stupa Sanchi, India


Mound shape and faced

with dressed stone. Three umbrellas at the top representing Buddha, Buddhas Law, and community of monks. Double stairway at south end leads from base to drum where there is a walkway for circumambulation. Hemispherical dome is a replication of the dome of heaven.

Great Stupa Sanchi, India


Four toranas, at cardinal

points of the compass, grace entrances. Torana: richly carved scenes on architraves; Buddha does not appear himself, but is symbolized by an empty throne or tree. High relief sculptures, horror vacqui of composition.

Chaitya hall
A Chaitya is a Buddhist or Jain

shrine including a stupa. Chaitya is often used to denote assembly or prayer hall that houses a stupa. It has a small rectangular doorway which opens to a vaulted hall. It is divided longitudinally by 2 colonnades. The roof is usually semi-circular. Bell shaped capitols on columns. Columns are vase shaped at the bottom because they were originally made of wood and the bases were placed in vases to prevent insects from destroying the wood.

Viharas
They consist of a main hall,

assembly hall and dining chambers. Cells are provided for meditation. The shrines contain beautiful figures of Buddha. The walls depict the stories based on Buddha's life. They were usually built of stone or brick.

ASHOKA PILLARS
It has an important place in

Buddhist architecture. It was erected by Ashoka. The pillar at Sarnath is more than 15m high. It has a group of four lions on it. These lions originally supported a massive metal wheel with 24 spokes called wheel of law. Its capital more than 2 m high. It resembles the shape of an inverted bell. It has a circular abacus. Contains 4 figures of animals( elephant, bull, lion & horse)

Ajanta caves