Dhamek Stupa

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Dhamek Stupa
धामेक स्तूप (Hindi)
Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath.jpg
Basic information
Location India Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India
Geographic coordinates 25°22′51″N 83°01′28″E / 25.3808°N 83.0245°E / 25.3808; 83.0245Coordinates: 25°22′51″N 83°01′28″E / 25.3808°N 83.0245°E / 25.3808; 83.0245
Affiliation Buddhism
Architectural description
Architectural type Stupa
Completed 500 CE

Dhamek Stupa (also spelled Dhamekh and Dhamekha) is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.[1]

One of the earliest stupas is the one built at Mohenjo-daro some time between 150 and 500 CE.[2]The Dhamek Stupa was built in 500 CE[3] to replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king 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 stones. King Ashoka built stupas to enshrine small pieces of calcinated bone and other relics of the Buddha and his disciples.[4] An Ashoka pillar with an edict engraved on it stands near the site.

The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot of a deer park (Rishipattana) where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment,[5][6] "revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana".[7] The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished.[8] While visiting Sarnath in 640 CE, Xuanzang recorded that the colony had over 1,500 priests and the main stupa was nearly 300 feet (91 m) high.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]



  1. ^ http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-monuments/dhamekh-stupa.html
  2. ^ Possehl, Gregory L (2010). The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective. AltaMira. p. 12. ISBN 978-0759101722. 
  3. ^ Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture, 20th ed. (ed. by Dan Cruickshank). Architectural Press, 1996. ISBN 0-7506-2267-9. Page 646.
  4. ^ "Stupas". Indian Heritage. Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  5. ^ "Place of the Buddha’s First Sermon". Indian architecture. Retrieved 2006-09-19. 
  6. ^ "http://www.asia.msu.edu/southasia/india/culture/architecture.html". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  7. ^ Quoted from: Pippa de Bruyn, Niloufer Venkatraman, Keith Bain. Frommer's India. ISBN 0-471-79434-1. Page 340.
  8. ^ Bradnock, Robert W. Footprint India. Footprint Travel Guides, 2004. ISBN 1-904777-00-7. Page 191.
  9. ^ Arnett, Robert A. India Unveiled. Atman Press, 2006. ISBN 0-9652900-4-2.
  10. ^ "Dhamekh Stupa". Varanasicity.com. Retrieved 2006-10-16. 
  11. ^ "Dhamekh Stupa". Retrieved 2006-09-19.