By R K Singh
The author is Joint Advisor, National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org
The magnificent railings and gateways of the stupa at Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh constitute a visual store house for the reconstruction of history of contemporary period and embody the spirit of our culture - continuity in diversity.
Bharhut is a small village, located in Satna district, in the eastern part of present day Madhya Pradesh. It once contained a magnificent Buddhist stupa surrounded by a massive vedika (railings) and interspersed by four toranas (gateways) placed in the cardinal directions, constructed during the reign of the Sunga dynasty - rulers of north and central India between 187 and 72 BC. Discovered by Alexander Cunningham in 1873-74, the Bharhut Stupa was built with dark red sandstone quarried from the Kaimur Hills of central India. Even though the main structure of the cylindrical stupa was not found in its entirety, a diameter of about 21 m at its base could be inferred from the numerous miniature representations on railings and gateways. These representations show a hemispherical anda (dome) built on a cylindrical medhi ( base). The vedika, about 3 m in height, was composed of a series of stone stambha...