Stūpa as śarīra dhātū to stūpa as dharmadhātū and maṇḍala: Continuity and changes in the sacred landscape in the Buddhist site of Udayagiri, Odisha

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Abstract

External forms and internal materiality of stūpas underwent changes over centuries, and how these changes also altered the sacred landscape of a Buddhist site is the subject matter of the paper. Exploring the practices of the worship of the stūpa at the site of Udayagiri in particular and Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri in general in Odisha, the present paper analyses the transformation of material contents and form of stūpas – from that of containing body relics to pratīiyasamutpāda sūtra and then to various dhāraṇīs and finally, in the 8th century CE, a maṇḍala stūpa emerged in Udayagiri I area. The emergence of this maṇḍala Mahāstūpa also coincided with the construction of a new monastery in the same area which asserted its new identity by issuing a new monastic seal, namely Mādhavapura Mahāvihāra, in addition to the prevailing monastic seal, Simhaprasta Mahāvihāra, which came up in early historical period in Udayagiri II. area.

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