STŪPAS OF SANCHI, Figure on JISOA., Vol II/2 pp. 95


Fig. 1; Simplified ground-plan of the Great Stūpa of Sanchi (third century B.C.). Diameter of the cupola, ca. 120 feet, height 54 ft. The terrace which was added after the completion of the cupola, is 14 ft. high and 5 ½ft. wide. The next addition was the railing of which the Southern gate was erected first, then the opposite one, and finally the east-western pair

Fig. 2; Elevation of the Great Stūpa (restored according to Sir John Marshall’s plan, on which also Fig. 1 is based).

Fig. 3; Outline of a smaller Stūpa (No.3 according to Sir J. Marshall’s enumeration), about half the size of the Great Stūpa and of later origin (probably IInd century B.C) Note the development from the flat cupola (Fig.1) to the complete hemisphere (Fig.3).1


A = torana (entrance-gate)

B = vedika (stone fence, railing)

C = pradakṣinā patha (circumambulatory path)

D = foundation, base

E = medhi (terrace or upper pradakṣinā patha)

Be = stone railing of the terrace.

F = aṇḍa (hemispheric cupola or dome)

G = terrace on top of the cupola

H = harmikā (kiosk) in shape of a stone fence, containing the relic shrine, which in case of the Great Stūpa consisted of a stone cylinder of ca. 6 feet in diameter. The lid of it had a hole, into which the pole of the stone umbrella was fitted.

I = htḯ, catta (honorific umbrella); in the ground plan indicating also the place of the cylindric relic receptacle.

K = the four main places of worship (later on; shrines).

L = staircase, leading to the terrace for circumambulation.

  • 1. The outline is not drawn to scale in order to make clear its curve in comparison with that of Fig. 1

STŪPAS OF SANCHI, Figure on JISOA., Vol II/2 pp. 95