Trace out how stupas were built. Explain why the stupa at Sanchi survived, but not at Amravati.

Stupas were regarded as sacred as it contained relics of the Buddha such as his bodily remains or objects used by him were buried there. According to a Buddhist text, the Ashoka Vadana, Ashoka distributed portions of the Buddha’s relics to every important town and ordered the construction of stupas over them. By the second century BCE, Bharhut, Sanchi and Sarnath, had been built. Inscriptions found on the railings and pillars of the stupas record donations made for buildings and decoration made on them. Some donations were made by kings such as the satavahanas others were made by guilds such as that of ivory workers who financed a part of one of the gateways at Sanchi. The

Amaravati could not survive because : Perhaps Amaravati was discovered before the scholars understood the value of the findings and realised how critical it was to preserve such things where they had been found instead they thought of removing them from the site. The stupas at Amaravati were changed and some of the slabs from the Amaravati stupas had been taken to different places, for example, they were taken to Kolkata, Chennai and London and were used in other structures. Local rajas also took remains of Amravati Stupa to build their temples.

The Sanchi Stupa survives because : It escaped from the eyes of railway contractors, builders and those looking for finds to carry away to the museums of Europe. The rulers of Bhopal, Shahjehan Begum and her successor Sultan Jehan Begum provided money for its preservation. H. H. Cole was against the looting of original works of ancient art. Nineteenth-century Europeans were very interested in the Stupa at Sanchi. That’s why, it survived the test of time.

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