Sopana, Sopāna: 25 definitions


Sopana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Sopan.

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Sopāna (सोपान) means “staircase” and refers to the flight of steps attached to the temple and peripheral buildings (eg, maṇḍapas, tālas etc.).

There are four kinds of sopānas defined:

  1. śaṅkhamaṇḍala,
  2. vallimaṇḍala,
  3. ardhagomūtra,
  4. trikhaṇḍakara.

Technically, a flight of steps as a whole is termed sopānamāla and each step in it is called a sopāna. The first (bottom-most) step is called aśvapāda (or, candraśila) and the upper-most step is called phalaka.

Source: Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD

Sopāna (सोपान) literally means a “staircase” or a flight of steps. Sopānas are provided to the temples and their annexes such as maṇḍapas, platforms, corridors, tanks, for the talas of the towers, etc,. Wherever the structure is built on an elevated plinth (adhiṣṭhāna) suitable staircases are provided to climb the plinth.

The flight of steps is called by the name sopānamāla and each step in it is called a sopāna. The first step in the ascending order is named as aśvapāda. Because this step is generally carved semi-circular or horseshoe-shaped on plan it is referred to as candraśila or aśvapāda. The upper most step of the staircase is called by the name phalaka because it is broad and flat and it is quadrangular. Sopānas were generally provided with pakṣaśila / hastihasta on their two open sides.

Sopānas are also decorated with releivo carvings. The sopānas are relieved at the top portion with blossomed lotus petals and the face of the steps is relieved with rows of scalloped lotus petals.

Source: OpenEdition books: Architectural terms contained in Ajitāgama and Rauravāgama

Sopāna (सोपान) refers to “staircase §§ 3.3, 41; 4.8, 9, 22; 5.11.”.—(For paragraphs cf. Les enseignements architecturaux de l'Ajitāgama et du Rauravāgama by Bruno Dagens)

Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Vastushastra from relevant books on Exotic India

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Sopāna (सोपान) is the name of a sacred site (pīṭha) to be assigned to the left knee (jānu) during the pīṭhavidhi (‘ritual of sacred sites’) according to the Tantrāloka chapter 29. This chapter of the Tantrāloka by Abhinavagupta expounds details regarding the Kula initiation ritual. Kula or Kaula is a specific tradition within Śaivism, closely related to Siddhānta and Śaktism. In the Jñānārṇava-tantra it is also mentioned as a pīṭha and is also called Kolvagiri.

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Shaivism from relevant books on Exotic India

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

Sopāna (सोपान) is the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Kalikā in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Sopāna also corresponds to Bhogavatī according to Bharata. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

Chandas book cover
context information

Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Chandas from relevant books on Exotic India

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Sopāna (सोपान) refers to the “steps” (leading the chariot), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.5.8 (“The detailed description of the chariot etc.”).—Accordingly, as Sanatkumāra narrated to Vyāsa: “The divine chariot of lord Śiva consisting of all the worlds was built by Viśvakarman with devoted effort. [...] The clouds Puṣkara and others constituted the gem-studded banners of glowing colours. The four oceans are remembered as the bullocks of the chariot. Gaṅgā and other rivers shining in excellent female forms and decorated in all ornaments held the Cāmaras in their hands. Taking up their places in the different parts of the chariot, they brightened it up. The seven courses of the wind Āvaha etc. constituted the excellent steps (sopāna) of gold leading the chariot [āvahādyāstathā sapta sopānaṃ haimamuttamam]. [...]”

Source: Srimad Valmiki Ramayana

Sopāna (सोपान) refers to “stairs”, according to the Rāmāyaṇa verse 5.3.8-13. Accordingly:—“[...] Seeing the city [viz., Laṅkā] everywhere Hanuma (Hanumān) became surprised at heart. Thereafter Hanuma the monkey, became happy seeing [...] stairs (sopāna) studded with cat’s eye gems, with inside walls made of crystal free from dust, [...], equalling the city of Vasvaukasārā, as though flying towards the sky. Seeing that city of Rāvaṇa, which was best among cities, a wealthy city, a beautiful and auspicious city, that powerful Hanuma thought thus”.

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Purana from relevant books on Exotic India

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Sopāna (सोपान) refers to the “ladder (of wisdom)”, according to  the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 46.—Accordingly, “[...] Morality is the ladder of wisdom (jñāna-sopāna) that penetrates into purity. Morality terrorizes the fetters like a lion that captures gazelles. Morality is the root of the qualities and the prerogative of monks. He who practices pure morality sees his aspirations realized at will: it is like the cintāmaṇi that realizes all the desires of beings as soon at is in invoked. [...]”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Mahayana from relevant books on Exotic India

India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Sopāna.—(SITI), steps; stairs; a sloping roof; the base of the garbha-gṛha of a temple. Note: sopāna is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cracow Indological Studies: Venerating Vēṭṭaykkorumakan (Son of Śiva and Pārvatī) through Ritual Arts

Sopāna (सोपान) refers to “(songs set to) musical notations”.—The rituals that are performed on a regular basis in the temples of Kerala are unique in their nature, since they move the devotees not only by appealing to their devotion, but also to their senses, through the actions and movements executed by the performer of the ritual (or the priest) as part of the ritual. [...] The singing of songs set to musical notations (sopāna-saṅgītam) and to the playing of a small drum called ‘ iḍaykka’, taking place just in front of the sanctum show the importance given to music—and to hearing—in Kerala temple rituals.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of India history from relevant books on Exotic India

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

sopāna : (m.; nt.) stairs; a ladder.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Sopāna, (m. and nt.) (cp. Sk. sopāna; Aufrecht “sa+ upāyana”) stairs, staircase Vin. II, 117, 152; D. II, 178; J. I, 330, 348; IV, 265; Vism. 10; VvA. 188; PvA. 156, 275; Vv 785; dhura-sopāna the highest step of a staircase (?) J. I, 330.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Pali from relevant books on Exotic India

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

sōpāna (सोपान).—n (S) A flight of steps; a staircase; a ladder: also a single step of the flight or the ladder.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

sōpāna (सोपान).—n A flight of steps; a staircase.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Marathi from relevant books on Exotic India

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान).—Steps, stairs, a staricase, ladder; आरोहणार्थं नवयौवनेन कामस्य सोपानमिव प्रयुक्तम् (ārohaṇārthaṃ navayauvanena kāmasya sopānamiva prayuktam) Kumārasambhava 1.39.

Derivable forms: sopānam (सोपानम्).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान).—n.

(-naṃ) Stairs, steps or a stair-case. E. sa with, upa above, up, and ana a going.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान).—n. Stairs, steps, [Kathāsaritsāgara, (ed. Brockhaus.)] 26, 283; a ladder, [Vikramorvaśī, (ed. Bollensen.)] 39, 4; Mahābhārata 5, 1017.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान).—[neuter] stairs, a ladder; [abstract] tva [neuter]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान):—n. (perhaps contracted [from] sa + upāyana) stairs, steps, a staircase, ladder to ([genitive case] or [compound]), [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान):—(naṃ) 1. n. Stairs, steps.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Sopāna (सोपान) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Sovāṇa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Sopana in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Sanskrit from relevant books on Exotic India

Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान) [Also spelled sopan]:—(nm) a stair, staircase; ~[nakrama] hierarchy; ~[nakramika] hierarchical; ~[navat] scalariform; ~[nika] hierarchical; ~[nita] fitted with stairs.

context information


Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Hindi from relevant books on Exotic India

Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Sopana (ಸೊಪನ):—[noun] (correctly, ಸ್ವಪ್ನ [svapna]) a series of mentaland emotions occurring during sleep; dream or dreams.

--- OR ---

Sōpāna (ಸೋಪಾನ):—[noun] a rest for the foot in climbing, as a stair; a step.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Kannada from relevant books on Exotic India

Nepali dictionary

Source: unoes: Nepali-English Dictionary

Sopāna (सोपान):—n. steps; ladder; staircase;

context information

Nepali is the primary language of the Nepalese people counting almost 20 million native speakers. The country of Nepal is situated in the Himalaya mountain range to the north of India.

Discover the meaning of sopana in the context of Nepali from relevant books on Exotic India

See also (Relevant definitions)

Relevant text

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: