Mauryan Art and Architecture

The monuments before the period of Asoka were mostly made of wood and therefore perished. The use of stone started from the time of Asoka.

Ashoka mauryan empire

Even of the numerous monuments of Asoka, only a few have remained. His palace and monasteries and most of his stupas have disappeared. The only remaining stupa is at Sanchi. The artistic remains of the Mauryan period can be seen in the following heads:


saranath pillar mauryan artThe pillars erected by Asoka furnish the finest specimen of the Mauryan art. Asokan pillars with inscriptions were found in places like Delhi, Allahabad, Rummindai, Sanchi and Saranath. Their tops were crowned with figures of animals like lion, elephant and bull. The Saranath pillar with four lions standing back to back is the most magnificent. The Indian government adopted this capital with some modifications as its state emblem.


mauryan sanchi stupa

Asoka built a number of stupas throughout his empire but majority of them were destroyed during foreign invasions. Only a few have survived. The best example is the famous Sanchi stupa with massive
dimensions. It was originally built with bricks but later enlarged after the time of Asoka.


The caves presented to the Ajivikas by Asoka and his son Dasaratha remain important heritage of the Mauryas. Their interior walls are polished like mirror. These were meant to be residences of monks.
The caves at Barabar hills near Bodh Gaya are wonderful pieces of Mauryan architecture.

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