Stupa (also spelled Dhamekh and Dhamekha, traced to Sanskrit
version Dharmarajika Stupa, which can be translated as the
the reign of Dharma) is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km
Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Stupas originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli, in which ascetics were
buried in a seated position, called chaitya. After the
parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes
divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing
the urn and the embers. Little is known about these early stupas,
particularly since it has not been possible to identify the original
ten monuments. However, some later stupas, such as at
Sanchi, seem to be embellishments of earlier mounds. The Dhamek
Stupa was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure
commissioned by the great
Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with
several other monuments, to commemorate the Buddha's activities in
this location. Stupas originated as circular mounds encircled by large
Ashoka built stupas to enshrine small pieces of
calcinated bone and other relics of the Buddha and his disciples.
Ashoka pillar with an edict engraved on it stands near the site.
Stupa is said to mark the spot (Rishipattana which can be
translated as "where the Rishi arrived") where the Buddha gave the
first sermon to his first five brahmin disciples after attaining
enlightenment, "revealing his Eightfold Path leading to
nirvana". In several of the ancient sources the site of the first
sermon is mentioned to have been at a ″Mriga-dayaa-vanam″ or a
sanctuary for animals. ( In Sanskrit mriga is used in the sense of
game animals, deer being the most common). The last royal endowment at
the site is dated to about 12th c. CE, after which the location of the
Mrigadayavanam seems to have been lost even to the devout. The stupa
was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still
unfinished. While visiting
Sarnath in 640 CE,
that the colony had over 1,500 priests and the main stupa was nearly
300 feet (91 m) high.
In its current shape, the stupa is a solid cylinder of bricks and
stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters and having a diameter of 28
meters. It is the most massive structure in Sarnath. The basement
seems to have survived from Ashoka's structure: the stone facing is
chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin. The
wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds,
as well as inscriptions in the Brāhmī script.
Stupa features in the 2014 Indian mystery thriller novel
The Emperor's Riddles
The Emperor's Riddles by Satyarth Nayak.
Stupa in 1891
Dhamekh Stupa, Saranath
History of Dhamekh
Stupa on stone
Stupa close-up, Sarnath
Stupa wall Close Up
Sarnath - Plan of Excavations
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dhamekh Stupa.
Varanasi India". iloveindia.com.
^ "Buddhist Art and Architecture: Symbolism of the
Stupa / Chorten".
2006-08-14. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
^ "THE BUDDHIST STUPA: ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT". 2005-01-13. Retrieved
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Perspective. AltaMira. p. 12. ISBN 978-0759101722.
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^ "Stupas". Indian Heritage. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
^ "Place of the Buddha's First Sermon". Indian architecture. Retrieved
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India Unveiled. Atman Press, 2006.
^ "Dhamekh Stupa". Varanasicity.com. Retrieved 2006-10-16.
^ "Dhamekh Stupa". Retrieved