|Stupa at center of relief showing ancient Indian Buddhists (monastics on left, lay couple at right, statues behind) circumambulating or clockwise "walking around" at a chaitya temple.|
|Afghan Greco-Buddhist Bactrian art, Gandhara|
Afghanistan is one of those places, a country so devoutly Islamic now that it seems that Islam has been around since the beginning of time.
[It is where the Buddha was born and raised and where he returned to help his family and people, according to Dr. Ranajit Pal, teaching them the path to liberation as he was teaching east in Magadha, Bihar, and northern India].
|Site of the super "Bamiyan Buddhas"|
|Is it carved out of rock or covered in accretion?|
Unlike other stupas [kurgans, Scythian burial mounds, relic domes, dagobas, chaityas, pagodas], Takht-e Rostam Stupa has not been mounted above ground. It has been carved into the ground, in a style that resembles the monolithic churches of Ethiopia [or Jordan's Petra or Buddhism's magnificent Ajanta Caves].
- Amazing stupas of Burma, Thailand, Laos (architectureofbuddhism.com)
- [Some stupa architecture: a rectangular box symbolizing the four quarters and the Four Great Regents of the Sky under Sakka, King of the Devas, surrounded by a stone balustrade (harmika). At the center of the apse (arch, vault) is a rock-cut relic dome, a three tiered torana above, and an anda (hemispherical egg or bell-shaped) mound. On top of the dagoba is a nine-tiered harmika, symbolic of the nine saṃsāric heavens in Mahayana Buddhist/Vedic cosmology.]
|Inside cave-like Buddhist monastery at Samangam, Takht-e Rostam stupa, meditation cells|
|Rare hollow, cave-like stupa in Thailand based on ancient Afghan style (Wat Umong).|
|Perhaps Persian throne rooms were built in the style of earlier Buddhist architecture which, being carved directly in stone, may have been the work of deva architects (pin).|
|Still standing after 700 years, Thailand's Wat Umong shows its age, despite numerous touch-ups. But still the crumbling, weather-worn central stupa towers into the sky (CB).|
At the top of the stupa is a stone-carved harmika building, which once held relics of the Buddha. The trench surrounding the stupa is around 24 feet (8 meters) deep. A path leads down to the bottom of the trench, where Buddhist monastics once circumambulated the stupa clockwise.
|Peaceful meditation room for striving|
Historians have proposed two possible reasons why the stupa has been carved in the ground instead of being built above ground. One explanation is that it could have been done for the purpose of camouflage to protect the monastery from invaders. Another much more mundane explanation states that it has simply been done to escape the excessive hot/cold climate extremes of Afghanistan.
|How could Buddhists have built this in stone?|
The ruins are located up the hill 3 kilometers southwest above the town of Samangan. More