Chaukhandi Stupa – Varanasi, India - Atlas Obscura

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Chaukhandi Stupa

The octagonal tower at this important Buddhist site was added many years after the temple's initial construction. 


The Chaukhandi Stupa was built in the fifth century. The structure stands atop a rectangular plinth, and is capped by an octagonal Mughal tower that was added more than a thousand years after the stupa was originally built.

Like the other stupas in Sarnath, the Chaukhandi Stupa is thought to house a relic of the Buddha. Its unique octagonal tower is a later addition, commissioned in the late 16th century by Emperor Akbar in memory of his father Humayun. This stupa is located south of the main Sarnath Buddhist Complex.

The stupa that stands today is believed to have evolved from a centuries-old burial mound. The site is said to be where Buddha met the five disciplines who would later follow him to the site of his first sermon, marked by Dhamekh Stupa.

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