Optional Telegram Groups – Inviting Moderators

Dear Students,

We have moved our discussion forums for optional subjects to the following telegram groups. It was evident that telegram had many smooth features which were beneficial for optional discussions.

From time to time, we will try to get Rankers and Mentors to communicate with you and solve your queries. It should be noted that these are self-moderated groups where you can collaborate and communicate with your fellow peers. Students interested to become Moderators so they can streamline the conversations are more than welcome to write to us.


Samachar Manthan for 2018-2019: Week 1 Highlights

Samachar Manthan for 2018-2019 is designed to help you develop a solid command on your newspaper reading and current affairs analyzing skills. Since it builds your core, it is important for both prelims and mains.

Watch some highlights of Week 1 Video Lecture here:

Know all details about the course and join here: Click2Read


120+ in UPSC Prelims: Know the Secret

CD remains committed to its students’ success. We are ready to go the extra mile to turn your dreams into reality.

Watch the video to know rigorous testing methodology followed by us for ensuring comprehensive Prelims preparation for our TS subscribers and how it will benefit you

Link for buying test series + video lectures: Click2Join

For students joining before the end of this month, you will get it for Rs. 6372 (Special discounted TS price)


Demolish UPSC series: 60+ Hours of Advanced Video Lectures

Demolish UPSC series

We are releasing 60+ Hours of Advanced Video Lectures on Static subjects – Polity, History, Geography, Economy

These cover the most important topics from prelims perspective

Basic knowledge will be helpful in understanding these though it’s not mandatory

CD remains committed to its students’ success. We are ready to go the extra mile to turn your dreams into reality. For students joining before the end of this month, you will get these lectures + Prelims test series for Rs. 6372 (Special 10% discounted TS price)

Link for buying test series + video lectures: Click2Join

For other students joining after June 30, the price would be Rs. 7000 + taxes for test series + video lectures

Here is the detailed schedule of lectures:

These lectures will be aligned to our CD Prime Prelims Test Series. You can view the schedule of test series here: Click2View


Government Bodies related to environment conservation in India

Central Pollution Control Board

Established: It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

Objective: To provide technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Key Functions:

  • Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning prevention and control of water and air pollution and improvement of the quality of air.
  • Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution
  • Coordinate the activities of the State Board and resolve disputes among them
  • Provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards, carry out and sponsor investigation and research relating to problems of water and air pollution, and for their prevention, control or abatement
  • Plan and organise training of persons engaged in the programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution
  • Organise through mass media, a comprehensive mass awareness programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution
  • Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water and air pollution and the measures devised for their effective prevention, control or abatement;
  • Prepare manuals, codes and guidelines relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents as well as for stack gas cleaning devices, stacks and ducts;
  • Disseminate information in respect of matters relating to water and air pollution and their prevention and control
  • Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the State Governments concerned, the standards for stream or well, and lay down standards for the quality of air.
  • Perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Government of India.


National Biodiversity Authority

Established When: It is a statutory autonomous body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India established in 2003, after India signed Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992

Headquarter: Chennai

The objective of the body: Implementation of Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Key Functions:

It acts as a facilitating, regulating and advisory body to the Government of India “on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.”

Additionally, it advises State Governments in identifying the areas of biodiversity importance (biodiversity hotspots) as heritage sites.


National Tiger conservation authority

Established: It was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.

Headquarter: Delhi


  • Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance of its directives become legal.
  • Fostering accountability of Center-State in management of Tiger Reserves, by providing a basis for MoU with States within our federal structure.
  • Providing for oversight by Parliament.
  • Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves.

Key Functions:

  • to approve the tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government under sub-section (3) of section 38V of this Act
  • evaluate and assess various aspects of sustainable ecology and disallow any ecologically unsustainable land use such as mining, industry and other projects within the tiger reserves;
  • provide for management focus and measures for addressing conflicts of  men and wild animal and to emphasize on co-existence in forest areas outside the National Parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserve, in the working plan code
  • provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, estimation of population of tiger and its natural prey species, the status of habitats, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, reports on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit including future plan conservation
  • ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan
  • facilitate ongoing capacity building programme for skill development of officers and staff of tiger reserves.


Animal Welfare Board of India

Established When: It was established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960.

Headquarter: Chennai

Objective: To advise Government on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country.

Key Functions:

  • Recognition of Animal Welfare Organisations: The Board oversees Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs) by granting recognition to them if they meet its guidelines. The organisation must submit paperwork; agree to nominate a representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India on its Executive Committee, and to submit to regular inspections. After meeting the requirements and inspection, the organisation is considered for grant of recognition.
  • The AWBI also appoints key people to the positions of (Hon) Animal Welfare Officers, who serve as the key point of contact between the people, the government and law enforcement agencies.
  • Financial assistance: The Board provides financial assistance to recognised Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs), who submit applications to the Board. Categories of grants include Regular Grant, Cattle Rescue Grant, Provision of Shelter House for looking after the Animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, Provision of Ambulance for the animals in distress and Natural Calamity grant.
  • Animal welfare laws and Rules: The Board suggests changes to laws and rules about animal welfare issues. In 2011, a new draft Animal Welfare Act was published for comment. Guidance is also offered to organisations and officials such as the police to help them interpret and apply the laws.
  • Raising awareness: The Board issues publications to raise awareness of various animal welfare issues. The Board’s Education Team gives talks on animal welfare subjects, and trains members of the community to be Board Certified Animal Welfare Educators.


Forest Survey of India

Established When:  It is a government organization in India under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for conducting forest surveys and studies. The organization came into being in, 1981.

Headquarter: Dehradun, Uttarakhand


The objective of the organization is monitoring periodically the changing situation of land and forest resources and present the data for national planning; conservation and management of environmental preservation and implementation of social forestry projects.

Key Functions

  • The Functions of the Forest Survey of India are:
  • To prepare State of Forest Report biennially, providing an assessment of the latest forest cover in the country and monitoring changes in these.
  • To conduct an inventory in forest and non-forest areas and develop a database on forest tree resources.
  • To prepare thematic maps on 1:50,000 scale, using aerial photographs.
  • To function as a nodal agency for collection, compilation, storage and dissemination of spatial database on forest resources.
  • To conduct training of forestry personnel in the application of technologies related to resources survey, remote sensing, GIS, etc.
  • To strengthen research & development infrastructure in FSI and to conduct research on applied forest survey techniques.
  • To support State/UT Forest Departments (SFD) in forest resources survey, mapping and inventory.
  • To undertake forestry-related special studies/consultancies and custom made training courses for SFD’s and other organizations on a project basis.

Forest Survey of India assesses forest cover of the country every 2 years by digital interpretation of remote sensing satellite data and publishes the results in a biennial report called ‘State of Forest Report'(SFR).

Central Zoo Authority of India

Established: It was established in 1992 and constituted under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.

Headquarter: Delhi


The main objective of the authority is to complement the national effort in the conservation of wildlife.

Standards and norms for housing, upkeep, health care and overall management of animals in zoos have been laid down under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992.   

Key Functions

  • Since its inception in 1992, the Authority has evaluated 513 zoos, out of which 167 have been recognized and 346 refused recognition.
  • The Authority’s role is more of a facilitator than a regulator.  It, therefore, provides technical and financial assistance to such zoos which have the potential to attain the desired standard in animal management. Only such captive facilities which have neither the managerial skills nor the requisite resources are asked to close down.
  • Apart from the primary function of the grant of recognition and release of financial assistance, the Central Zoo Authority also regulates the exchange of animals of the endangered category listed under Schedule-I and II of the Wildlife (Protection Act) among zoos.  
  • Exchange of animals between Indian and foreign zoos is also approved by the Authority before the requisite clearances under EXIM Policy and the CITES permits are issued by the competent authority.  
  • The Authority also coordinates and implements programmes on capacity building of zoo personnel, planned conservation breeding programmes and ex-situ research including biotechnological intervention for the conservation of species for complementing in-situ conservation efforts in the country.





Civilsdaily Listicles & Titbits | High Yield Material for Quick Prelims Revision

When done with basic book reading and Prelims is near, many aspirants face the dilemma of how to revise entire syllabus and then remember important points from it.

We understood this problem and our team worked together to compile all important topics at one place through excel sheets and Dr V compiled all important static syllabus points through Titbits.

The excel sheets prepared by us are available to view and download below (best viewed on desktop/ large screens):

  1. Declarations, conventions, protocols- Contains important IR pacts signed in the last few years- Click2view
  2. Important Books/ Texts in Indian History- Contains 80+ important books/ texts so that you are 110% prepared for the IAS Pre & beyond- Click2view
  3. Important Acts/bills- Bills/acts/amendments which have been in news from 2014-2017- Click2view
  4. Satellites, Space Missions, Space Tech by India and the World-Click2view
  5. Important Historical Sculptures- Click2view
  6. Important Temples/Monasteries/Stupa/Caves- Click2view
  7. Tribes in India, their festivals, and culture- Click2view
  8. Key/important Terms related to Ancient/ Medieval History- contains nearly 180 terms from the most authentic history textbooks of our times Click2view


Read all Titbits here

  1. Polity Titbits: Fundamentals of Polity and Constitution Click2read
  2. Polity Titbits: Important articles/schedules of Constitution Click2read
  3. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of legislature Click2read
  4. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of executive Click2read
  5. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of Judiciary Click2read
  6. Polity Titbits: Constitution- Special provisions Click2read
  7. Polity Titbits: Constitutional, Statutory and quasi-judicial bodies Click2read
  8. Polity Titbits: Panchayati Raj- Local governance Click2read



Chapter 8 | Post-Gupta Period I (600AD – 750AD)

Area of interest : North India, Deccan India & South India

Political situation became complex with the passing away of the Guptas and the demise of the Vakataka rulers. Vassals of the Guptas became independent in the North.
In the Deccan and far South too multiplicity of powers was witnessed.


I. Political Background

Harshavardhana (590 AD to 648 AD) –

The fall of the Gupta rulers paved the way for domination of the Later Guptas, Maukharis and Pushyabhutis in the North. Harsha, though a Pushyabhuti ruler of Thaneswar ruled from Kanauj, which was originally the seat of Maukharis, with whom he contracted a marriage alliance. Harsha is celebrated as last ‘Hindu’ ruler in the North post the Gupta era.


II. Literature and Language

Work Author Type Theme Patronage
Kadambari Banabhatta Romantic Sanskrit Novel Romantic attachment between Chandrapeeda and Kadambari
Harshacharita Banabhatta Harsha’s biography in Sanskrit An account of Harsha’s ancestry and his early life Harsha
Priyadarshika Harsha Sanskrit play Harsha
Nagananda Harsha Sanskrit play Harsha
Ratnavali Harsha Sanskrit play About a princess Ratnavali and a great King Udayan. One of the first references of Holi found in the text Harsha
Mahaviracharita Bhavabhuti Sanskrit play Based on the early life of Rama Yashovarman of Kannauj
Malatimadhava Bhavabhuti Sanskrit play The love story between Malati and Madhava Yashovarman of Kannauj


III. Religion

All religions were patronized under Harshavardhana’s reign. He was a Shaivite, but later Hiuen Tsang converted him to Mahayana Buddhism.

Hiuen Tsang who visited Harshavardhana’s empire noted Buddhism was declining in India while Brahmanism was on rise.


IV. Art and Architecture

The art and architectural contributions of Harsha’s period are very few and mostly followed the Guptas. Harshavardhana’s realm is associated with construction of numerous stupas and monasteries. Harsha patronised the Nalanda University by his liberal endowments.

The brick temple of Lakshmana at Sirpur with its rich architecture is assigned to the period of Harsha.

Lakshamana temple, Sirpur

Related image

  • The Lakshamana temple is located in the village Sirpur of Chattisgarh.
  • It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu



I. Political Background

The late sixth century is marked by rise of Badami Chalukyas around the North Eastern part of Karnataka. The empire was founded by Pulakesin I. Pulakesin II (610 – 642 AD ) is considered the greatest ruler of the house.


II. Literature and Language

Work Author Type Theme Patronage
Aihole Prasasti Ravi Kirti Pulakesin II’s eulogy Mentions defeat of Harshavardhana by Pulekesin II when Harsha tried expanding towards the Deccan Pulakesin II
Vikramankadevacharitam Bilhana An epic in honor of Vikramaditya VI Western Chalukyan ruler, Vikramaditya VI


III. Religion

Chalukyans were both Vaishanavas and Shaivites but had a greater inclination towards Vaishnavism and Jainism. Nonetheless, they patronized all religions.


IV. Architecture

A. Caves

Cave temple architecture was also famous under the Chalukyas. Their cave temples are found in Ajanta, Ellora and Nasik.

B. Temples

Chalukyan temples are found in 3 places – Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal.

BadamiBadami cave temples are a complex of 6 temples – 4 Hindu, 1 Jain & 1 possibly Buddhist.
Image result for vishnu paintings badami

Cave 3 – Vishnu image

AiholeLadkhan temple, Durga temple and Ravana Phadi Temple

Durga temple


  • It is an apsidal temple of 550 AD. The apsidal shape is similar to the shape of a Buddhist chaitya.
  • Temple has an open pillared verandah serving as pradakshinapatha instead of a dark ambulatory path.
  • Temple shows improvements in shikhara development as compared to the Gupta period.


Ravana Phadi Temple

Image result for ravana phadi cave

  • Ravana Phadi is a rock cut cave with distinct sculptures made during the Chalukyan era.
  • Among numerous sculptures is the Goddess Durga is portrayed in the carving. She appears to be slaying Mahishasura (panel above).


Pattadakal – This temple complex has 10 temples – 4 Dravida style, 4 in Nagara style, 1 Vesara style & 1 Jain Sanctuary. The Papanath temple is the Nagara style temple.

Virupaksha Temple

File:Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal.jpg

  • Largest and grandest temple in Pattadakal
  • Built in 8th Century by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s (Vikramaditya II’s ) victory over Pallava ruler.





I. Political Background

The Pallavas were feudatories of the Satavahanas. After the fall of the Satavahanas in third century AD, they became independent. They ruled in the Tondaimandalam area with Kachipuram as their capital. The 7th Century marked the rise of great rulers like Mahendravarman, Narasimhavarman I and Rajasimha. The Pallava rule reached its zenith under these rulers.


II. Literature and Language


Work Author Type Theme
Mattavilasa Prahasana Mahendravarman I Sanskrit Means the ‘delight of the drunkards’. Sanskrit farse on Buddhist and Kapalika ascetics
Kiratarjuniya Bharavi Sanskrit Simhavishnu
Devaram Nayanars Tamil Saiva literature
Nalayradivyaprabandam Alvars Tamil Vaishnava literature


III. Religion

The Tamil society witnessed a great change during the Pallava period.

A. Hinduism

The Brahmins occupied a high place in the society. Brahmanism and Brahmins were patronized by the rulers. The Pallava period witnessed the rise of Saivism and Vaishnavism.

Bhakti Cult

The Saiva Nayanmars and the Vaishnava Alwars contributed to the growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism. Apar and Sambandar were Shaivite bhakti saints who contributed immensely to the growth of Shaivism.

B. Buddhism and Jainism

Increased patronage to Hinduism and revival by Bhakti movement led to decline of Buddhism and Jainism.


IV. Architecture

A. Temples

This era is significant for temple building activities as the Dravidian style of temple architecture began. The Pallavas introduced the art of excavating temples out of rocks. We see a gradual evolution starting from the cave temples to monolithic rathas which culminated in structural temples. The development of temple architecture under the Pallavas can be seen in 4 stages.

Stage I – Mahendra phase

This stage sees the development of Pallava rock-cut temples under Mahendravarman I. They were built in many places. The most important among them are Pallavaram, Mamandur, Mahendravadi, Vallam and Thalavanur.


Pallavaram Caves

Stage II – Mamallapuram phase

The second stage of Pallava architecture is represented by the monolithic rathas and mandapas found at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). The name ‘Mammalapuram’ is derived from Narshimahavarman’s name ‘Mamalla’ which means the ‘great wrestler’.

There are 5 Rathas – Dharmaraj Ratha, Bhim Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Draupadi Ratha, Nakul Sahdev. These rathas, popularly called as the Panchapanadava rathas, signify 5 different styles of temple architecture. Dharmaraja Rath is the largest and it’s considered a precursor for the Dravidian style.

Rathas of Mahabalipuram

  • The South saw the emergence of Dravida style of architecture. Earliest Dravida style is visible at Mahabalipuram where during the Pallava period were constructed different rock cut structures called rathas.
  • Main shrine has a square ground plan
  • The superstructure above the shrine instead of having a shikhara, has horizontal platforms each placed one above the other with the size receding upwards. This is called a vimana.
  • Constructed under the patronage of Mahendravarman I and Narsimhavarman I.

The mandapas contain beautiful sculptures on its walls. The most popular of these mandapas are Varaha Madapam, Mahishasuramardhini Mandapa, Tirumurthi Mandapam and the Panchpandava Caves.


Panchpandava Caves

Stage III – Rajasimha phase

This stage witnesses the evolution of structural temples in South India. These temples were built by using the soft sand rocks. The Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and the Shore temple at Mamallapuram remain the finest examples of the early structural temples of the Pallavas.

Shore Temple

Related image

  • The Shore temple is located in Mamallapuram.
  • Its name is credited to its presence at the shore of Bay of Bengal.
  • Built by Rajasimha.
  • Made up of granite
  • A Shaiva temple but also has a Vaishnava shrine

Kailasanatha Temple

Image result for kailasanatha temple kanchipuram

  • This temple is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram.
  • Located in Tamil Nadu, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Dravidian style temple.
  • Built by Rajasimha.

Stage IV – Nandivarman phase

The last stage of the Pallava art is also represented by structural temples built by the later Pallavas. The Vaikundaperumal temple and Muktheeswara temple at Kanchipuram belong to this stage of architecture.

Vaikunda Perumal Temple

Image result for vaikundaperumal temple

  • Dedicated to Lord Vishnu
  • Dravidian style


V. Art

The Pallavas had also contributed to the development of sculpture. Apart from the sculptures found in temples, an ‘Open Art Gallery’ at Mamallpuram remains an important monument.

The Descent of the Ganga or Arjun’s penance remains the most important sculpture.

Descent of Ganga/ Arjun’s penance



  • Made of a monolithic rock
  • Found in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Identified as Bhagiratha’s bringing Ganga down from the matted locks of Shiva
  • It is also identified as Arjun’s penance
  • Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Sittannavasal jain paintings belonged to the period of Pallavas.


References and image credits:

  5. NCERTs
  6. NIOS
  7. CCRT site

Chapter 5 | Mauryan Period (400BC – 200BC)

Areas of Interest : North India

File:Asia 323bc.jpg Alexander-Empire_323bc


I. Political Background

The period from sixth to late fourth century BC witnessed the rise of territorial polities (mahajanapadas) in North India. This culminated into the establishment of the Mauryan Empire in about 325 BC. The Mauryan Empire was a pan Indian empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya.

Ashoka is considered the most significant ruler of the empire.


II. Literature and Language

The Mauryan era witnessed very few literary contributions. These contributions were either in Prakrit or Pali or Sanskrit.

1. Sanskrit

Work Author Type Theme Patronage
Arthashastra Chanakya Political text written in Sanskrit Deals with statecraft, polity. Economic policy, military strategy and overall administration of the Mauryan realm. Chandragupta Maurya


2. Pali and Prakrit

The religious books of Buddhism and Jainism were written in Pali and Prakrit (language of the masses) respectively. This ensured even common men read and understood religion.

The earliest Buddhist works were written in Pali. The Buddhist works can be divided into the canonical and the non-canonical.

The canonical literature is best represented by the “Tripitakas”, that is, three baskets – Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.

Work Author Type Theme
Vinaya Pitaka Upali Buddhist scripture written in Pali. Name meaning basket of discipline. Deals with monastic rules for monks and nuns.
Abhidhamma Pitaka Buddhist scripture written in Pali Deals with philosophy and metaphysics.
Sutta Pitaka Ananda Pali collection of Buddhist writings of Thervada Buddhism Deals with dialogues and discourses on morality and
deals with Dharma.

The non-canonical literature is best represented by the Jatakas. Jatakas are interesting stories of previous births of Buddha. Each birth story is called a Jataka.

The Jain texts were written in Prakrit.

Work Author Type Theme
Kalpasutra Bhadrabahu Jain scripture written in Prakrit. Deals with the life stories of the last two Jain Tirthankaras, Parshvanath and Mahavira.

In the eight day long festival of Paryushan by Jain monks Kalpasutra is read for the general Jain people.


Besides these texts, Megasthenes’ Indica which was written in Greek also sheds light on Mauryan administration.


III. Religion

Mauryan rulers were tolerant towards all religions.

1. Hinduism

Despite increased popularity of Buddhism and Jainism, Hinduism remained popular too. Hinduism underwent changes during this era. Though Yajanas were performed but animal sacrifices were stopped.

2. Buddhism

Buddhism flourished during Ashoka’s realm. He sent his son Mahinda and daughter Sangamitra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism. Ashoka is also credited for construction of 84000 stupas. Ashoka also convened the Third Buddhist Council.

History of Buddhist Council – These councils were Buddhist meetings held periodically which included Buddhist monks, nuns and religious leaders.


Buddhist Council Timeline Location Outcome Spiritual Leader (Monk) Patronage
First Buddhist Council Around 400 BC after Lord Buddha’s death. Sattapanni caves, Rajgriha Led to formulation of Sutta and Vinaya Pitaka. Mahakasyapa Ajatashatru
Second Buddhist Council Around 383 BC Vaishali The aim was to settle the dispute on practices of Vinaya Pitaka which led to the first schism of Buddhism– Mahasamghikas and Sthaviravadins sects were formed.

Sthaviravadins followed orthodox norms while Mahasamghikas followed less rigid norms.

Yasa Kalasoka
Third Buddhist Council Around 251 BC Pātaliputra Led to formulation of Abhidhamma Pitaka. Moggaliputta Tissa Ashoka
Fourth Buddhist Council Around 72 AD Kashmir Buddhists further divided into two sects- Mahayana and Hinayana. Vasumitra Kanishka

Explore more –


3. Jainism

Growing merchant community made religious grants to Jainism which ensured the religion prospered. Chandragupta Maurya became a Jain follower and sent missions to the South to propagate the religion further. The decline in animal sacrifices was a result of increasing influence of Jainism and Buddhism.


IV. Architecture

For the first time, we see state-sponsored art and architecture. Architectures prior to this period seem to have been made of wood and hence were not able to survive. A case in point is the 80 pillared hall at Kumrahar which is often considered to be a Mauryan palace.

A. Stupas (click for more details)

For the first time, we see the construction of Stupas. These are hemispherical dome structures originally built over the relics of Buddha after his death. There were 8 of them in distributed in places where Buddha seemed to have lived – Rajagraha, Vaishali, Kapilvastu, Allakapa, Ramagrama, Vethadipa, Pava, Kushinagar. Ashoka is credited to have commissioned construction of 84000 stupas.

The components of a Stupa are shown in the diagram –



B. Pillars and Capitals (click for more details)

After the Harappan period stone sculpting had disappeared. Its re-emergence is seen in Ashokan pillar and capitals.

Summary of sites where capitals have been discovered

Crowning Animal Site
Quadruple Lion Sarnath
Single Lion Basarah – Bakhira, Lauriya – Nandangarh, Rampurva, Vaishali
Elephant Sankissa
Bull Rampurva


1. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh

Image result for sarnath pillar

  • Another remarkable sculpture is Sarnath’s lion capital
  • Characterized by four Asiatic lions standing back to back
  • It was adopted as India’s national emblem in 1950.
  • Figures of horse, lion, bull and elephant are sculpted on the abacus.
  • This pillar capital symbolized Dharmachakraparivartana that is the first sermon of Buddha.
  • The abacus has four wheels with 24 spokes each. This wheel with 24 spokes is adopted in the National Flag.


1. Basarah – Bakhira, Bihar

Related image

  • Single crowning lion sitting on a square abacus.
  • Compared to other capitals, this sculpture is relatively less ornamented.


2. Lauriya – Nandangarh Lion Capital

Related image

  • In Champaran district of Bihar.
  • The pillar is inscribed with edicts of Ashoka
  • Characterized by round abacus and lion as the crowning animal.


3. Sankisa Elephant Capital

Image result for Sankisa elephant pillar

  • Located in Uttar Pradesh
  • After Buddha’s death Ashoka installed series of columns in Sankissa among them only the Elephant capital survives.



4. Rampurva, Bihar

Image result for rampurva bull pillar

  • Is a hybridization of Persian and Indian elements.
  • The abacus shows Greek influence and has beautiful floral designs.
  • Zebu bull is depicted as the crowning animal.


C. Temples

Evidence of the earliest known structural temples has been recovered through excavations at the Bairat District of Jaipur, Rajasthan.



  • This shrine is dated to the 3rd century B.C
  • A circular brick and timber shrine of the Mauryan period
  • Was made of lime-plastered brick work
  • Points to construction of wooden pillars.
  • Surrounded by a seven feet wide ambulatory.


Temple 40′ at Sanchi, has a similar plan, it was a stone temple on an apsidal plan enclosed by an ambulatory, and raised on a high, rectangular scale, approached by two flights of steps from diagonally opposite sides. The super-structure was possibly built of wood, and has disappeared.


D. Caves

Many caves were built during the time of Ashoka. They were mostly Chaityas and Viharas (click to read more)


  • Oldest surviving rock cut cave in India.
  • These caves are situated in the twin hills of Barabar (four caves) and Nagarjuni (three caves) located in Bihar.
  • These caves were granted to Ajivika sect by Ashoka. Ashokan inscriptions have been found in this cave.
  • Caves are carved out of granite and have a polished surface.
  • Barabar Hill contains four caves, namely, Karan Chaupar, Lomas Rishi, Sudama and Visva Zopri.
  • Among these most important are Sudama and Lomas Rishi Caves as they are the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India



  • The arch-like shape facade of Lomas Rishi Caves, imitate the contemporary timber architecture



  • This cave has better finishing in comparison to Lomas Rishi cave. Inner walls are highly polished.


V. Independent Art

In visual art of Mauryan period human figures are conspicuously absent. Salient exceptions to this pattern are the yaksha and yakshi sculptures.

A. Sculpture

Yaksha and Yakshi figures – Life size figures have been found in Vidisha, Patna and Mathura.


  • Found from a Didarganj, Patna.
  • A wonderfully modeled life-size standing image of a Yakshini holding a chauri (flywhisk)
  • Characterized by elaborate ornamentations and sensuous appeal depicting Indian sculptural tradition.
  • Highly polished surface made up of sandstone.

Image result for yaksha


  • Located in Mathura
  • Made up of sandstone


Elephant in Dhauli, Orissa

  • Dhauli hills are located on the banks of river Daya south of Bhubaneshwar
  • The oldest Buddhist sculptures in Orissa is the rock-cut elephant above which Ashokan Edicts are spotted.


Male Torso, Lohanipur


– Highly polished. The nude torso of a Jain Tirthankara or a saviour of the Digambara sect found at Lohanipur



References and image credits