Archaeology of Sonari Stupa
Excavations have revealed 2 stupas, the date of construction for Stupa 1 and Stupa 2 are same as those of Sanchi Stupa, which was built in 125-100 BCE. A relic casket excavated in Stupa 2 at Sonari was discovered by Alexander Cunningham and F.C. Maisey. The casket, of lathe-turned steatite, has a globular body in two parts on a circular disc foot surmounted by a 4-tiered knob, which is intended to suggest a 4-tiered honorific umbrella or chattra.
Incised on the upper part of the casket, in early Brahmi characters, is a Prakrit inscription which mentions the relics of the worthy Buddhist monks. It is said that the ashes of these monks were divided among these stupas. The Stupa 2 of the Sonari Stupas contained 3 miniature reliquaries, 2 in soapstone and 1 in rock crystal, as well as a certain amount of bone ash and a piece of wood. The main reliquary is shaped to resemble a lotus bud, with incised petals decorating the lower half of the reliquary. These stupas were built to preserve and venerate the remains of Lord Buddha.
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