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The story of Indian art and sculpture dates back to the Indus valley civilization of the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC. Tiny terra - cotta seals discovered from the valley reveal carvings of peepal leaves, deities and animals.

Emperor Ashoka (3rd Century BC) of Mauryan Empire,   had 85,000 stupas or dome-shaped monuments constructed with the teachings of Buddhism engraved on rocks and pillars.  The famous Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath in Madhya Pradesh gleams in polished sandstone representing the hieratic art under the Mauryan Empire. The lion capital of the pillar is now the official emblem of the Indian Republic and the sacred wheel of law or the dharmachakra is symbolic of the first sermon that Buddha delivered at Sarnath.

In 4th-6th century AD, during the Gupta Empire   innumerable images of  Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, the Sun-God and goddess Durga evolved.

Some of the more significant Sculptural sites include :

Ajanta/Elora : Near Aurangabad in Maharashtra (4 th. century AD). These caves houses Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sculptures.

Khajuraho: In the central state of Madhya Pradesh boasts of the best medieval temples in India, known all over the world for their erotic sculptures.

Elephanta caves: Near Mumbai (Bombay) these caves present an introduction to some most exquisitely carved Shiva temples created by India's expert stone carvers of the sixth century.

 

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