Andhara Period (c. 70 BCE – 3rd century CE)
During the Andhara Period, the stupa begins to become a major focus for religious reverence. At Sanchi, Ashoka had constructed a stupa, which remained a work in progress for many years. Over time, the stupa grew in size and a 16 feet high wall was raised around the perimeter of the stupa, which creates a ritual walking path between the base of the stupa and the wall. Near the end of the first century BCE, the Andharas began to make significant renovations and additions to this monument. It resulted in the stupa becoming the greatest Buddhist monument in India. Four ornate stone gates, 24 feet high, were completed during this period. This was a communal project, with over 400 donors to the cause identified in the inscriptions found on these gates.

external image 2663462176_18943aa221.jpg?v=0
Detail of one stone gate, added around c.20 CE. -**flickr.com/photos/ 31703507@N00/2663462176**

The Buddha’s presence is still a symbolic representation on these monuments. His presence is represented through symbols such as stupas, empty pedastals, and trees. Other imagery can been seen of elephants worshiping stupas, spirals, and the depictions of gods and goddesses.

sanchistupa.jpg
"Great Stupa" Sanchi c. 250 BCE. (Renovated c. 20 CE) -http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/buddhist-art/sanchi01.htm

References

"Great Stupa" Sanchi. Retreived September 30, 2008 from Buddhist Studies Website -
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/buddhist-art/sanchi01.htm