The Maha (Great) Stupa at Amaravati in
is a revered Buddhist site. It is estimated to be built during the reign of the
in the 1st -4th century BC. Mahastupa attracted pilgrims till the 12th century AD. Excavations in the 18th century unearthed numerous sculptures and friezes.
Experts estimate the stupa, at around 35 m in height and diameter, to have exceeded the Sanchi Stupa in size. The marble dome supported by a brick structure is believed to have been then the largest in the world. The dome and the outer and inner railings feature intricate carvings depicting the life of Buddha. Some of the pieces unearthed here are displayed in the museums at Chennai and Kolkata. The mound that exists now is 1.5 m high with a 49 m circumference. It is called Depaladienne by the locals.
An archeological museum on the site displays carved panels, chakras and caskets containing relics, broken railings and sculptures of the Bodhi tree. Galleries contain pottery, coins, bangles and terracotta specimen. The museum also holds a miniature replica of the stupa, statues of Buddha, some more than 2 m tall and sculptures of the auspicious lotus and
swastika. The Museum is open to public from 0900 to 1700 except on Fridays.