gates covered with carving both illustrative and decorative. To the
north and south originally stood two monoliths, which may have borne
edicts of Asoka, one of which near the east gate was still entire in
1862 and measured 15 feet z inches in height. Just inside each
gate is a nearly life-size figure of one of the Dhyani Buddhas ; but
unfortunately they have been moved, and no longer occupy their
original positions. The carved gates are the most striking features
of the edifice. They stand facing the four cardinal points, and
measure 28 feet 5 inches to the top of the third architrave,, and with
the ornamentation above, 32 feet I I inches. They are cut in a white
sandstone rather softer than the red stone used in the mound, and are
profusely carved with scenes from the Jataka stories and other legends.
It is noteworthy that Buddha himself is nowhere delineated. Bodhi
trees or footprints alone represent him; of the meditating or preaching
figures common in later Buddhist sculpture there is no trace.
The construction of the mound is assigned to 250 B. c., and it was
probably erected by Asoka. The gates, judging from the inscriptions
upon them, are slightly earlier than the beginning of the Christian era.
Of the history of Sanchi we know nothing. Neither of the Chinese
pilgrims, Fa Hian or Hiuen Tsiang, makes any mention of the place,
while the Mahavamso merely narrates a tale of how Asoka, when sent
as a young man to be governor of Ujjain, married the daughter of
the Sreshtin or headman of Chaitiyagiri or Vasanta-nagar, of which
the ruins, now known as Beshnagar, may be seen near BHILSA, but no
mention is made of this stupa.
Close by are the ruins of a small temple, built in Gupta style, and
probably of the fourth century A. n. Beside it stand the ruins of a
chaitya hall or Buddhist church, which is of great importance archi-
tecturally, being the only structural building of its kind known to us,
the other examples of chaitya halls being rock-cut. All that remains
are a series of lofty pillars and the foundations of the wall, which show
that it was terminated by a solid apse. To the north-east of the great
stupa formerly stood a smaller one, which is now a heap of bricks with
a carved gateway before it. To the east on a kind of terrace are several
shrines with colossal figures of Buddha. On the western slope of the
hill, down which a rough flight of steps leads, is the smaller shipa,
surrounded by a railing without gates.
Several relic caskets and more than four hundred epigraphical records
have been discovered, the last being cut on the railings and gates.
A fragment of an edict pillar of the emperor Asoka, carrying a record
similar to that on the Allahabad pillar and the pillar lately discovered
at Sarnath, has also been unearthed here. The record is addressed
to the Maha-matra in charge of Malwa, and appears to refer to the up-
keep of a road leading to or round the stupa. Great interest attaches