Mauryan Art And Architecture

The Mauryan made a significant contribution to Art and Architecture. It was the beginning of an important period in Indian architecture. During this period, sculpture and architecture had reached an advanced stage. Architecture saw significant advancement in the Mauryan period (322-182 BC). Especially under Ashoka. Mauryan art and architecture had the influence of Persian and Greeks art and architecture.

Mauryan Art And Architecture






Stupas was burial mound. According to Buddhist scriptures, Buddha’s body was divided into eight halves and buried under eight stupas. When these were dug and dispersed during Ashoka’s reign, it lead to the construction of new stupas. It is a different type of building with a hemispherical dome, and robust construction that can’t be entered. A stupa is a massive funerary mound that originally housed the ashes and bones of the saint who was buried there.

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  1. Kapilvastu
  2. Kushinara
  3. Ramgram
  4. Vaishali
  5. Pavapuri
  6. Rajgir
  7. Piplavan
  8. Vidthapida
  9. Allakappa
  • The ancient stupa at Sanchi was walled in bricks and surrounded by a wooden railing until the stone railing or fence replaced the wooden fencing. The exciting stupa at Sanchi surrounded the original stupa and has been enlarged.
  • The 1st century BC had a base, sometimes round, sometimes square, a circumambulatory walkway, and a stone barrier with four elaborately carved entrances, in the four principal directions for the stupa, which had a domicile structure.
  • Harmika is a square railing from which rises the Shaft that holds the imperial umbrella, sometimes one, sometimes three, and finally several, their size diminishing as they rise.
  • Among the well-known sculpture are those in Sanchi, Bharhut, and Bodh Gaya in gathering north, as well as those in Amaravati and Nagarjuna in the south.



  • Lord Buddha achieved ‘ knowledge (Bodhi)’ about fifteen kilometers from Gaya.
  • At the site, Ashoka constructed a Bodh Gaya temple Manda, but there is no trace of the origin.
  • Stone pillars of the Sunga period have also been found, formed in relief with sculptures of a panel.


  • Sanchi India’s most famous stupa location, lies 14 kilometres from Vidisha. There are three stupas here each with gateways. The Great Stupa is the most well-known, having been erected by the Ashoka in approx. 250BC.
  • A ‘Vedika’ was erected around it during the sunga period in 150 BC.
  • Four gates are also there to enhance their beauty.
  • Inscription carved on its architecture tells how the incision of its southern gate was completed by an ivory craftsman under the aegis of King Satakarni.
  • The northern gate indicated the Jatakas stories.
  • Some of the animals are portrayed with heavy coats and boots, while others, including lions, elephants, camels, and oxen are displayed on the wall.
  • A quick review of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, dharmachakra- pravartana, and Mahaparinirvana, as well as four key events in his life.
  • Lotus and wishing vines have been carved on the pillars.


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  • Initially, earthen mounds were used to build the stupa’s center. The earthier mound would eventually be covered in bricks.
  • Stupas were usually built on a stone brick foundation. On the top of the base, a hemispheric dome(Anda) was constructed.
  • The drum of the stupa became longer and higher as time passes.
  • The stupa is surrounded by a Vedika.
  • The Vedika,  Bharhut, Sanchi, and Amaravati, were made up of three transverse bars and upright pillars.
  • Within the railing, the ground-level circumambulation path  (Pradakshina path) runs around the stupas.
  • Toranas, which were ceremonial gateways around the stupas.


The main monastery building no longer exists at the site south of Satna in Madhya Pradesh. These structures whose important features still remain, are preserved at the Indian Museum in Calcutta.

  • The stone railing is also an imitation of the post and rail fences of Bharhut, but they are topped with a heavily ornamented stone border.
  • There are carvings of Yakshas along the upright of these railings. Yakshas are associated with Buddhism.
  • Some of these divinities contain inscriptions indicating their identifications.
  • As in other stupa railings, Buddhist themes like Jatha stories are combined with various natural elements.


It was built with white marble and was constructed 46 kilometers from Guntur. Although the stupa has completely disappeared, its sculptured panels remain in the madras and British museums.

  • A circular prayer path built of stone that was 10 meters high and 42 meters in diameter ran around the Temple. Its height was 29 meters, while its diameter was 42 meters.
  • The Vedika pillars are carved with a multitude of Gods, the Bodhi tree, the Bodhi tree stupa, the Dharmachakra, and stories from the jatakas.
  • Four lions decorate the Vedika of the Torah, the entrance gate of the stupa.
  •  On the pillars, there are Laos lotuses carved into the surface.
  • The Amaravati stupa also contains several images.
  •  Buddha’s symbolism mainly consisted of symbols, but later Buddha images, along with their symbolism, began to appear.


In contrast to the style of North India, this stupa was built in a different manner. The most important scenes are

  • Gods are praying to Bodhisattva to take birth on earth.
  • Buddha’s entry into the womb in the form of a white elephant.
  • Birth of the Buddha under a flowering teak tree.



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  • Pillars were made as a symbol of the state.
  • To commemorate the victory.
  • To propagate imperial sermon.
  • They are made up of single sandstone.




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                    RAMPURA BULL CAPITAL
  • Black and white sandstone (Mathura)
  • Black spotted buff sandstone (Chumar)
  • Bull capital (Rampura)
  • Lion capital(Sarnath)
  • Lion capital (Sanchi)


Mauryan Art And Architecture

  • The Lion capital of Sanath, regarded as the most exquisite specimen of Mauryan art and selected as India’s national emblem, is a prime example of Mauryan sculpture.
  • The Lion Capital, which was excavation more than a century ago at Sarnath near Varanasi and is considered one of the best specimens of Mauryan sculpture, is known as the Sarnath Lion Capital.
  • Ashoka created a capital, which was initially divided into five pieces, to commemorate the historical event of the Buddha’s first sermon, or Dharmachakrapravartana, in Sanath.
  • The axis is broken in many parts now.
    • A base for a lotus bell.
    • A clockwise rotation of four animals on a drum on the Bell base.
    • Four beautiful addorsed lions’ representations.
    • Dharmachakra the pillar’s crowing elements, was also made up of a large wheel. 


Barabar Hills CavesNagarjun Hills Caves
Lomas Rishi caveGopi ka kubha cave
Sudama cave VaDythika ka kubha cave
Karnchopar caveVapiya kubha cave
Vishwa cave



  • A form of Mauryan pottery known as Northern Black Polish Ware.
  • These are generally used as luxury items because of their painting in the black highly lustrous finish. NBPW ceramic is produced at Kosambi and Patliputra.



During this period, a significant advancement in Indian sculpture was made. Guilds of artisans who aided Ashoka in his initiatives are mentioned in period literature. In order to express Buddhism in stone, the emperor declares himself the protector of Dhamma. He issues edicts in Pali and Brahmi.

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  • Monumental paintings of Yasgha, Yakhinis, animals, rock-out caves, and pillar columns with capital figures dating from the 3rd century BCE have been discovered in various parts of India.
  • It portrays the prevalence of yaksha worship and how it became a figure in Buddhist and Jain religious structures. Huge Yakshas and Yakshinis statues can be found in a number of places, including Patna, Vidisha, and Mathura.
  • it demonstrates the artist’s skill in representing the human body. the image has a gleaming finish. The Yakshi statue is a nice example comparing Terracotta figurines with sculpture, one can clearly discern that the shape of the body the very different.
  • The craftsmanship of figure representation in these rock-out examples is outstanding. In Dhauli, Odisha, for example, Dhauli elephant models in the round with a linear beat. It also contains Ashokan Rock Edicts.
  • the dazzling polish applied to the stone surface is one of the most distinctive elements of Mauryan art. The superiority of an average stone is enhanced by its mirror-like shine.
  • In general, Mauryan sculptures were exceptionally skilled at carving relief on the face of stone and carving excellent figurines with beautiful elements.


Chunar stone was used for the first time in India to crave relief and circular sculptures during this exciting period in Indian sculpture’s early years. This represented the incredible communication of Dharma far and wide throughout the Mauryan empire. stone gradually supplanted wood in the construction of structural components and the creation of artwork. with the emergence of a social group that granted substantial patronage for the production of splendid examples of art and also new trends. as a result of the Mauryan art, Indian art history was flooded with an incredible amount of imagination.

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