UPSC PRELIMS 2019 : Chaukhandi Stupa – National Important Monument

Chaukhandi Stupa - National Important Monument

Topic : Chaukhandi Stupa – National Important Monument

Topic in Syllabus: Art & Culture

 

Context:

Chaukhandi Stupa - National Important Monument

An ancient Buddhist site in UP’s Sarnath known as Chaukhandi Stupa has been declared to be “of national importance” by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

 

Chaukhandi Stupa

  • It is a lofty mound of brick whose square edifice is surrounded by an octagonal tower.
  • The stupa got its name Chaukhandi’ because of its four armed plan.

 

Significance:

  • Chaukhandi Stupa was built to mark the place where Buddha met his first disciples Panchavargiya Bhikshus (Buddha’s five companions) who had previously deserted him at Rajgir, as he traveled from Bodhgaya to Sarnath.
  • The stupa is an ancient Buddhist site which evolved from burial mounds and served as a shrine for a relic of Buddha.

 

Construction

  • It appears to be in ruins and was originally constructed in 5th Century AD.
  • It also finds mention in account of Hiuen Tsang, celebrated Chinese traveler of 7th century AD.
  • The Chaukhandi Stupa is said to be originally a terraced temple during the Gupta period (4th to 6th century).
  • Govardhan, the son of Todarmal altered and modified the Chaukhandi Stupa to its present shape.
  • He built an octagonal tower to commemorate the visit of Humayun, the great Mughal ruler.

 

Architecture

  • The current structure of the stupa is a high earthen mound covered with brickwork, to which stands atop a terraced rectangular plinth and it is capped by an octagonal Mughal tower.
  • Some images of Buddha, such as the image of Buddha in Dharmachakra Pravartana Mudra and other statues found during excavations at this Stupa are believed to be rare artifacts and classic examples of art from Gupta period.

 

About the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI):

  • ASI was formed on 1861 and is headquartered at New Delhi, India.
  • ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage in India.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Culture.
  • ASI is responsible for the regulation of all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972

 

Sample Question

Which ancient Buddhist site located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, has been declared as a Monument and Protected Area of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)?
a. Shatkhandi Stupa
b. Chaukhandi Stupa
c. Trikhandi Stupa
d. Panchkhandi Stupa

 

Answer: b