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Amaravati Stupa, Guntur Overview

Amaravati Stupa is a heritage monument, and ancient Buddhist stupa located in the Amaravathi. The memorial is currently under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. Popularly known as the Mahachaitya, Deepaladinne or the Great Stupa of Amaravati, this is among the largest stupas in India and one of the most visited sites in Amaravati.

Built in the phases between the 3rd century BCE and 250 CE, The premises also have an Archaeological Museum other than the stupa itself. Amaravathi Stupa built by a representative of Emperor Ashoka, the monument is constructed of brick and has a circular vedika which houses Lord Buddha in a human form seated over an elephant.

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History of Amaravati Stupa

Amaravati Stupa is said to be founded in the 3rd century BCE during the time of the reign of Emperor Ashoka. However, there is no authentic evidence for the same.
History of Amaravati

The stupa was constructed in two periods- in the first period, there were only plain railings, granite pillars, crossbars and coping stones. The latter period is believed to have lasted around 50 BCE and continued till 250 BCE.

Recovery of Amaravati Stupa

A Scottish army officer - Major Colin Mackenzie came to visit Andhra Pradesh in 1797 and found some Buddhist structures made with bricks and limestone, that were facing the River Krishna. But at that time, no steps were taken.
Recovery of Amaravati Stupa
And when he returned to the site in 1816, the remains had also been destroyed by indiscriminate excavations. He studied the research and drew a sample of the stupa. Later in 1845, Sir Walter Scott explored the area thoroughly, conducted research and found several sculptures in the excavations that followed.

Architecture of Amaravti Stupa

Amaravati Stupa is considered to be one of the largest in Andhra Pradesh and is also sometimes compared to the Sanchi Stupa. With a height of 27 m and a diameter of 50 m, the monument has a circular vedika built with bricks and protruding rectangular Ayaka platforms for the four directions. 
Amaravati Stupa Relief

Five pillars of the platform represent the five main events from the life of Lord Buddha- the birth, the great renunciation, enlightenment, the first sermon and the final extinction. These platforms also have some crystal and one Ivory casket which have bone-pieces, precious stones, pearls and gold flowers.

Design of Amaravathi Mahachaitya

Boasting of Mauryan style of architecture, the stupa has a semi circular spherical dome that is mounted on a circular drum like platform. There are also decorations done in stucco- there are tales from Buddha’s life and Jataka tales, and animal and flower drawings.
Amaravathi Stupa
This entire structure was surrounded by pillars which form a railing. These pillars are separated by cross bars. The sculptures have been removed from the site but some ruins of the pillars remain.

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