Barabar Caves – Lomas Rishi – UPSC GS1

“Lomas Rishi cave in the Barabar Hills of Bihar and gateways of some of Buddhist stupas are an excellent example showing true imitations in stone of early wooden constructions.” Examine. (150 Words)

The Mauryan period was initially dominated by timber as is corroborated by accounts of Kautilya and Megasthenes. Ashoka was the first Mauryan to think in stone.
The stone masonry and carvings were imported to India during Ashoka from Persia according to the similar signs are seen in Persepolis. So the gradual transition from wood to stone happened.
Lomas rishi cave was excavated during Ashoka for Ajivika sect. The entrance of the cave imitates hut entrance on stone. The back of the roof is made of bent timber and the carved frieze of elephants is an imitation of previous woodwork. Besides there is a stone imitation of trellis work made of small piece of bamboo.
Besides, various Buddhist architecture also exist that support the argument in the question. Stupas were built over ashes of Buddha. The stupas of Sanchi, Bharuch, Gaya, Amravati and Nagarjunkonda are famous for their entrances, torans, with upright pillars and crossbars based on wooden style, on which relief was carved in various Buddha symbols.
The stupa of Sanchi was enlarged to enclose the original one and railing was made of stone replacing wood. In chaityas also, like at Karle, rafters and cross beams were carved in the rock though they serves no purpose. Chaityas also had wooden roof or pillars supporting a vaults roof, a ribbing inspired by wooden architecture.



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