Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has recently discovered two 1200-year-old miniature votive stupas during landscaping activities near Sarai Tila mound on the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district.


About ‘Votive Stupa’

  • These are forms of the stupas, with their distinctive domelike drum, originating in eight cylindrical structures in which the Buddha’s relics were placed after his death.
  • The stupa shape has become associated with the Buddhist goal of release from the cycles of suffering and rebirth.
  • In addition to the drum, this stupa has a tiered base and is crowned with a series of stylized umbrellas that symbolise royalty and divine status.
  • The larger ones at Bodhgaya were probably given by visiting kings, while smaller stupas such as this one were offered by monks and lay pilgrims.
  • Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings.


What is a stupa?

It is a Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons.