The Stupa of Bharhut was a Buddhist monument built around 150 BC during the reign of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka
. Excavated by the famous archeologist Alexander Cunningham in 1873, this plaster-covered, brick-made stupa is believed to have been about 68 feet in diameter. It was erected at
, a place at Mahiyar valley in central India, between
, 200 miles northwest of
in Madhya Pradesh. A richly carved stone railing, 88 feet in diameter, was added to the stupa during the period of the Sunga kings.
The posts, railings, capping stones and gateways that surrounded the stupa were made of red stone. The railings were carved with a variety of lotus designs, sometimes incorporating yaksha busts, images of Lakshmi, scenes of everyday village life, and pictures of deer, elephants and peacocks. The scenes related to the Buddha, including his dream of Maya, celestials celebrating Buddha's enlightenment, the worship of Buddha's throne and the Bodhi tree, elephants paying homage to the Buddha throne, Naga king worshipping the throne were also among the sculptures. The Jataka stories were also illustrated. Nothing remains at the site of the monument now. The remnants of the sandstone railings and gateways are displayed in the Bharhut gallery at the Indian Museum,