Tapa Tope Kalān

Description :

The site of Tapa Tope Kalān excavated by Zémaryalaï Tarzi and characterised by a very large Stūpa (GS), is located about 200 metres north-east of the modern city. It had been located by Masson who named it 'Tope Kalān' and then identified by Barthoux as 'Borj-i Kafarihā'. Three ensembles were distinguished on the site. The Great Stūpa, whose decoration evoked the Buddhist heavens, was located in the centre of a courtyard (P1) delimited by seven more or less square constructions, linked together by an enclosure wall and each containing a stūpa. To the north-east, adjoining and communicating with the Stūpas Courtyard was the saṅghārāma, the Vihāra P2. On the same alignment, adjoining to the northeast, a third complex P3 had been excavated, built on three sides of a courtyard. Unfortunately, the very damaged south-eastern sector had not been preserved. The Vihāra P2 as well as the Stūpas Courtyard, P1 and the Great Stūpa GS date from TTK I. During TTK II (=TSh IX), beautification works were undertaken in Vihāra P2, the Great Stūpa and the set of cells and corridors (P3) were built. Finally, the stūpas of the CH I and CH V chapels around the GS are attributed to this period.

Excavations in this area could not be pursued, however a testimony of former Prime Minister Moussa Shafiq suggests that there may have been a Mahāparinirvāṇa sheltered by construction 22, the latter remembering playing as a child near a statue sheltered by a corridor whose hand was large enough to sit on (Tarzi, 1990: 722).

Plan of Tapa Tope Kalān drawn by Prof. Z. Tarzi (Tarzi, 1997).