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Amaravati Sightseeing

India Buddhism BookingThe Great Stupa of Buddha : Any account of Amaravati will not be complete without reference to the world famous Buddha stupa here. The Stupa was part of a complex of religious buildings built and paid for by local people. Over time, the Stupa was added to and changed many times.

It has 32 meters height and 32 meters diameter, larger than one at Sanchi, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. The dome is intricately carved marble slabs. The origins of the stupa go back to the 3rd or 2nd centuries BC. The excavations by Col. Colin Mackenzie in 1797 recovered the magnificent railings, sculptured friezes. Almost all these excavated items are placed at the museum of Chennai. This place is also considered as the Birthplace of Buddhism. Early excavations give us some information about the state of the Amaravati site during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, archaeologists at this time did not record the location of the sculptures and objects they found in the way modern archaeologists would. The result is that we do not know exactly where most of the sculptures were found.

India Buddhism BookingDescription of Maha Stupa :

  • Gateway : On the enterance of the stupa, Four gateways are there each facing the four directions, north, south, east and west.
  • Lion : Sculptures of Lion are placed at both of the corners of each gateways of the Amravati Stupa. Which represent power and strength and was meant to be placed to protect the stupa from evil spirits.
  • Ayaka Platform : A small platform extended out from the drum at each of the gateways. There were around five pillars mounted on top of each ayaka platforms. The ayaka platform may have been used in the ritual, which took place at the Amaravati Stupa.
  • Outer railing : Around the outer limits of the Stupa is a tall railing made of limestone (A common, fine-grained stone). The railing marked the boundaries of the Stupa.
  • Pillars : After crossing the gateway there are five pillars facing toward the gateways of the stupa. The pillars are mounted on a special platform called the ayaka, which is a part of the drum and extended out from it.
  • Drum : The drum is a circular platform on which the dome placed. The side of the drum is covered with carved limestone relieves (The word used to describe scenes, symbols and figures carved onto a wall or slab of rock).
  • Dome (lower) : The main part of the Amaravati Stupa is an 18 meters high solid great dome. The dome was made of pale green limestone, which was probably painted with bright colors. A small box made of stone, pottery or metal was usually placed within the dome of a stupa. This box contained the ashes of the Buddha or an important Buddhist figure.
  • Dome (Upper) : The main part of the Amaravati Stupa is a solid great dome, which most likely stood about 18 metres high. The dome is made of pale green limestone, which was probably painted with bright colours. The upper part of the dome was probably decorated with plaster garlands. During festivals and occasions, garlands made of real vines and flowers were used for the decorate buildings.
  • Harmika : The harmika was a small platform with a railing located at the very top of a stupa. Sometimes umbrellas were mounted in the harmika as a symbol of honour and respect.India Buddhism Booking