Stupas of Buddhism
The Buddhist stupas or the Viharas are the sacred places for the Buddhist people. They visit these places and pay their honour to their believers. The Stupas are in the hemisphere shape and packed construction. In this construction, one can’t enter like into a temple. Above the hemisphere shape, install a pillar by umbrellas. These stupas built on the buried relics of Lord Buddha or other important monks. The relics mean the teeth, bone, hair etc. A stone wall also built around the stupa and decorated the gateways with beautiful sculptures. During the Ashoka the great period, these built with Brick, mud and wood. Later the Stupas constructed with stone only.
The Buddhists believe that the Stupa represents Buddha. Some believe that the dome of the stupa represents the Universe, the centre pillar being the axis around which everything revolves and which connects the world below, the earth and the heavens. The devotees of Buddha worship the Stupa by offering the Stupa and do meditation by sitting before it.
We can see many Stupas in India. In Andhra Pradesh, Amaravathi, Bhattiprolu, Ramatirtham, Salihundam are the famous Buddhist Stupas. The archaeologists found a crystal casket containing the relics of Buddha. Amaravathi Stupa was built during the rule of Satavahanas about 1900 years ago.
Generally, the Stupa covered with Panels of various sculptures depicting the Buddha life and his teachings. Some panels contain flying figures on the top which indicates the heavenly gods came to worship Lord Buddha. At the bottom, devotees seem to bow down and worship Buddha. We can see four lions on the gateway of the Stupa. These sculptural panels represent the earliest sculptural activity in the Sub-Continent of India. Especially Amaravati stupas and Nagarjunakonda Stupa sculptures show us a glimpse of people of those times from them in South India.
Later the years the artists started making large and complete figures of Lord Buddha and making of relief panels decreased slowly. Making the Large statues of Lord Buddha were famous in Gandhara in the North West, Mathura and Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. We can see such type of sculptures in Nagarjunakonda.