Sanchi is famous in the world for The Buddhist vihara stupas, monolithic Asokan pillar, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth. Located at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is 46 km north-east of Bhopal. A Stupa is a holy place of Buddhist, which is built in the shape of a dome that consists of relics of Buddha.The Great Stupa at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. The construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka's wife, Devi herself, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka's wedding.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site this famous pilgrimage site in India. There are four intricately designed gateways surrounding the Stupa known as Toranas, each individually symbolizing the four emotions of love, peace, courage and trust.They are enriched with bas reliefs illustrating Buddhist legends, known as Jatakas and events in Ashoka’s life. The colossal Buddhas behind them date back to the 5th century A.D. The Great Stupa is 16.4 meters high and 36.5 meters in diameter and preserves the relics of Buddha.
Great Sanchi Stupa No. 1: The oldest stone structure in India, 36.5 m in diameter and 16.4 m high, and with a enormous hemispherical dome, the Stupa stands in perpetual splendor, the paved procession path around it worm smooth by centuries of pilgrims.
The Buddha, according to the tenets of early Buddhist art, is portrayed in symbols: The lotus representing his built, the tree his enlightenment, the wheel, derived from the title of his first sermon, the foot prints and throne symbolizing his presence. These have been carved with such inspired intensity and imagery that taken together with the surrounding figures, they are considered the finest of all Buddhist toranas, and counter-balance the massive solidity of the stupa they encircle.
Sanchi Stupa No. 2: This Stupa stands at the very edge of the hill and its most striking feature is the stone balustrade that rings it.
Sanchi Stupa No. 3: Situated close to the Great Stupa. The hemispherical dome is crowned, as a mark of its special religious siginificance, with an umbrella of polished stone. The relics of Sariputta and Mahamogallena, two of the Buddha’s earliest disciples, were found in its inmost chamber.
The Great Bowl: Carved out of a single block of stone, this mammoth bowl contained the food that was distributed among the monks of Sanchi.
The Gupta temple at Sanchi: This 5th century AD temple is one of the earliest known examples of temple architecture in India.
The Museum at Sanchi: The archeological survey of India maintains a site museum at Sanchi. Noteworthy antiquities on display include the lion capital of the Ashokan pillar and metal objects used by the monks, discovered during excavations at Sanchi.
West Gateway: The front face of the top architrave of the West Gateway shows seven incarnations of the Buddha, four of which are represented by trees and the rest by stupas.
The middle architrave shows the Buddha preaching his First Sermon in the deer park at Sarnath.
The lowest architrave illustrates a colorful legend about Bodhisattva, which literally means – ‘a being whose characteristic (sattva) and aim are enlightenment (Bodhi)’.
South Gallery: The front of the top architrave depicts the nativity scene of the Buddha. Maya, the mother of Gautama, stands on a full-blown lotus, with elephants on the right and left, pouring water over her head. In the lowest architrave, dwarf-like figures, known as kichakas, are holding garlands in their hands and spouting forth the Lotus Tree (of Life and fortune) from their mouths. The back of the middle architrave is again illustrated with stories from the Chaddanta Jataka.
The front face of the middle architrave shows Gautama departing from his father’s palace at Kapilavastu to begin his search for truth. The second panel of the inner face of the right pillar illustrates the dream which Maya, the mother of Gautama, had at the time he was conceived. She dreamt of the moon with an elephant standing on it. The miracle of the Buddha walking on water is depicted on three panels on the left pillar.
|Dream with Maya|
North Gateway: This is the best preserved of the four gateways. Above the top architrave is a Buddhist Wheel of Law.
The top panel of the left pillar (front face) shows the Buddha performing another miracle.
The second panel of the inner face of the right pillar shows a monkey king offering a bowl of honey to the Buddha (represented by a throne).
Ashokan Pillar at Sanchi: Just to the right of the southern gateway lie the remains of Ashokan pillar erected by Ashoka in the 3rd century, displaying all the characteristics of such monoliths – exquisite proportion, brilliant polish, succinct instructions. Centuries of exposure to weather has not diminished its metallic glow.
How to Reach
Sanchi can easily be reached by train or road from Bhopal, Vidisha,Raisen and other places. It lies on the railway line between Jhansi and Bhopal. It is 46 kms north-east of Bhopal by rail and is connected with it by a good 48 kms (via NH86) road.
Open from sunrise to sunset
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head. (children up to 15 years free)
Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head
Best Time to Visit
Bhopal's climate remains moderately hot throughout the year, however, avoid making a trip during the hot summer months. The best time to visit Sanchi Stupa is during November to March. Moreover, this is the time when majority of the festivals take place.
Places to Stay
The city has innumerable hotels and guest houses to stay. Ranging from five-star accommodations to humble bed and breakfast setups, you will find all options to suit your budget. There is never a scarcity of accommodation in the city, but if you are planning to visit during the peak tourist season then it is recommended to book your accommodation well in advance.
Excursions from Sanchi :In the area around Sanchi there are a number of site, some of which are Buddhist