Railing, Bharhut Stupa

c. 100 BC
Indian Museum, Calcutta

A large room in the Indian Museum houses architectural elements (railings, posts, and gateways) from the monumental Shunga-period stupa located at Bharhut, near Khajuraho in north central India. The stupa had long been ruined, and these components were rescued from the site. Their polished red sandstone is carved in low relief with nature-spirits, ceremonial processions, and stories of the Buddha's previous lives.