This period saw the development of the powerful Maurya, Shunga, and Gupta empires, as well as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
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Bodh Gaya is the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment—over millennia it has been reconstructed and reimagined.
Divinity in stone, an early Buddha from Mathura.
The many forms of Shiva at Elephanta island.
The Gupta period saw tremendous advances in Indian art and architecture.
Folktales adapted into Buddhist tradition appear in art across India and beyond.
Buddhism thrived in India for over a thousand years. Discover important sites in the life of the Buddha.
Described as a “museum of religions,” Hinduism encompasses many beliefs and accepts a pantheon of deities.
A mound of dirt or the body of the Buddha? These sacred sites give practitioners insight into the Four Noble Truths.
An empty throne, footsteps, and a wheel—rather than represent the Buddha directly, sculptors relied on symbols.
Siddhartha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Now a major pilgrimage site, it is covered in offerings.
Cut into a mountainside, this monastic complex is hard to see but offers a breathtaking glimpse of ancient India.
Topped with lions and lotus flowers, these ancient stone columns provide early evidence of the Buddhist faith.