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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 448Book's First Page
The best example of these is the famous stupa at Sanchi (near Bhopal) with massive dimensions (diameter 121.5 ft, height 77.5 ft, height of stonerailing 11 ft). The original brick stupa built by Asoka was probably of not more than half the present dimensions which were subsequently enlarged by the addition of a stone-casing laced with concrete. Besides, the present railing was a subsequent replacement for the older and smaller railing of Asoka. Caves Another important heritage of the Mauryas are the caves, cut out of hard and refractory rocks. Their interior walls are so well-polished that they shine like mirrors. These were meant to be residences for monks (viharas) and also served the purpose of churches and assembly halls (chaityas). Asoka and his grandson Dasaratha got several such cave-dwellings built in the Barabar Hills near Bodh Gaya, and donated them to the monks of Buddhism and the Ajivika sect. The details of two famous Barabar Caves (Sudama and Lomas Rishi Caves) show a clear influence of wooden architecture on rock-cut architecture. BARABAR HILL Its four caves are the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India. Made in the Mauryan period, they became a trend in the subsequent centuries. Like the larger Buddhist Chaityas that were found in Ajanta and Karla Caves in Maharashtra, they greatly influenced the tradition of South Asian rock-cut architecture. Thus, the Barabar Caves are the earliest examples of the rock-cut method, and mark the beginning of a great tradition which would span the next 1,000 years in the history of Indian art.