North Gate of Stupa no. 1 at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

high-definition creative commons photographs from the North Gate of Stupa no. 1 at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, together with descriptions and some further information.

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Panoramas

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Gate from the Back

Top Architrave – The Chaddanta Jātaka. Compare the similar scene on the back of the middle architrave of the South Gate. Here the huntsman Sonuttara is omitted, and the execution of the relief is far inferior to that on the South Gate, of which it is but a poor imitation. [1]

 

Floral Design

08 Floral Design

Men on Horses

09 Men on Horses

Back of Yaksini and Lion

10 Back of Yaksini and Lion

Peacocks

11 Peacocks

Sujata's Offering on left, Mara's Attack on right

12 Sujata's Offering on left, Mara's Attack on right

Peacocks

13 Peacocks

Middle Architrave : Central Section – The temptation of the Buddha. Towards the left end of the panel is the pīpal tree at Bodh-Gayā with an umbrella and streamers above, and, in front, the diamond throne of the Buddha, whereon he sat when he withstood the temptations and threats of Māra, and when he attained to Buddhahood. Human and celestial beings are adoring it.

The figure to the left of it is perhaps Sujāta, bringing the meal which she prepared for Gautama before he began his last meditation prior to his enlightenment.

Near the middle of the panel is Māra, seated on a throne with attendants around, and advancing from him towards the throne are his daughters, who sought by their blandishments to seduce Gautama from his purpose.

On his other side, i.e., in the right half of the panel, are the hosts of Māra's demons, personifying the vices, the passions and the fears of mankind. The vigour and humour with which these fantastic beings are portrayed is very striking, and far more forceful than anything of the kind produced by the artists of Gandhāra.

Men riding Elephants

14 Men riding Elephants

Yaksini from Behind

15 Yaksini from Behind

Elephants lustrating Queen Maya

16 Elephants lustrating Queen Maya

Around the Chaitya

17 Around the Chaitya

Yaksini from Behind

18 Yaksini from Behind

Vessantara Jataka

19 Vessantara Jataka

Vessantara Jataka

20 Vessantara Jataka

Vessantara Jataka

21 Vessantara Jataka

Lower Architrave – The Vessantara Jātaka story. In the end section to the right we see the Prince with his wife and children in the wilds, on the way to Mount Vanka. On Mount Vanka he takes up his abode in the hut which Śakra, king of the gods, had made ready for him, adorning its approach with plantain trees. A little later (towards the centre of the panel) he proceeds to make a gift of his children to the Brahman Jūjaka, while, above, three gods, in the forms of a lion, a tiger and a leopard, keep the mother Maddī away from the hermitage. To the left of Maddī, the archer who had been set by the Cheta princes to watch over Vessantara, is threatening to shoot the Brahman Jūjaka and, below, Jūjaka is seen driving the children away with a stick.

Finally, to the left of the same panel, Vessantara is depicted giving away his wife, but, thanks to the intervention of Indra, both wife and children are restored to him after the children have been taken to their grand-parents by the Brahman. The reunion of the prince with his wife and children is shown in the left hand top corner of the middle panel; and the children in the palace of their grand-parents at the left end of the architrave.

Yaksini and Men on Elephants

22 Yaksini and Men on Elephants

Yaksini and Men on Elephants

23 Yaksini and Men on Elephants

Gate from the Front
(unfortunately the main architraves are missing from this collection)

One of Seven Buddha's Stupa

24 One of Seven Buddha's Stupa

One of Seven Buddha's Stupa

25 One of Seven Buddha's Stupa

Lion and Yaksini

26 Lion and Yaksini

Yaksini and Lion

27 Yaksini and Lion

One of Seven Buddha's Tree

28 One of Seven Buddha's Tree

One of Seven Buddha's Tree

29 One of Seven Buddha's Tree

Yaksini

30 Yaksini

Yaksini

31 Yaksini

Vessantara Jataka

32 Vessantara Jataka

Vessantara Jataka

33 Vessantara Jataka

Yaksini and Elephants

34 Yaksini and Elephants

Elephants and Yaksini

35 Elephants and Yaksini

Mango Tree Miracle

36 Mango Tree Miracle

Top Panel – In centre, a mango tree with the throne of the Buddha in front. Round the Buddha is a circle of his followers bringing garlands to the tree or in attitudes of adoration. It was beneath a mango tree that, according to the Pali texts, Buddha performed the great miracle at Śrāvastī, when he walked in the air, and flames broke from his feet and streams of water from his head. But here there is no definite indication of the miracle.

Descent at Sankissa

37 Descent at Sankissa

Top Panel – In centre, a mango tree with the throne of the Buddha in front. Round the Buddha is a circle of his followers bringing garlands to the tree or in attitudes of adoration. It was beneath a mango tree that, according to the Pali texts, Buddha performed the great miracle at Śrāvastī, when he walked in the air, and flames broke from his feet and streams of water from his head. But here there is no definite indication of the miracle.

Right Pillar : Front Pace : Top Panel – The descent of Buddha from the Trayastriṁśa Heaven, where Māyā, his mother, had been reborn and whither he himself ascended to preach the Law to her. This miracle is supposed to have taken place at Sankissa (Sānkāśya) in the United Provinces.

In the centre of the relief is the miraculous ladder by which the Buddha descended, attended by Brahmā and Indra. At the top of the ladder is the tree and throne of the Buddha with the gods on either side in an attitude of adoration. Other devas attend on him as he descends, among whom the one to the right of the ladder holding a chaurī and lotus may be Brahmā.

At the foot of the ladder the tree and throne are repeated with a trio of devotees on either side, indicating that the Buddha has returned again to earth.

Jetavana

38 Jetavana

Second Panel – The Jetavana at Śrāvastī, showing the three favourite residences of the Buddha – the Gandhakuṭi, the Kośambakuṭi and the Karorikuṭi, with the throne of the Buddha in the front of each. The Jetavana garden was presented to the Buddha by the rich banker Anāthapiṇḍika, who purchased it for as many gold pieces as would cover the surface of the ground. Hence, the foreground of the relief is shown covered with ancient Indian coins (kārṣāpanas), just as it is in the similar relief at Bharhut, where the details of the coins are more in evidence.

King Suddhodana drives out of the Palace

39 King Suddhodana drives out of the Palace

Second Panel – A royal figure in a chariot drives forth from a city gate, with a horse in front. The scene is analogous to the scene of Buddha's departure from Kapilavastu on the East Gate, but in that case there is no chariot, and in this case there is no umbrella above the horse to indicate the presence of the Buddha. On the other hand, the figure standing at its side with a water-pot (bhringāra) in his hand indicates that a gift is being made. Probably it is King Suddhodana going forth from Kapilavastu to meet his son, the Buddha, on the occasion when he presented him with a park.

Unidentified

40 Unidentified

Teaching the Sakyans

41 Teaching the Sakyans

Royal Procession

42 Royal Procession

Fourth Panel – A royal procession issuing from a city gate, probably Prasenajit of Kosala going forth from Śrāvastī to meet the Buddha.

Broken Scene

43 Broken Scene

 

North Gate
North Gate in 1878

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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