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A symbol of great victory of peace over war. More than 20 centuries ago, young prince Ashoka had married a Vidisha merchant’s daughter when his royal carven on its way to an other town had camped here. Princes and merchant princes in those days had a great need to live in harmony. Eight years after Ashoka ascended the throne; he went to war with and conquered the state of Kalinga. It was a terrible war in which one hundred and fifty thousand persons. Sanchi, located on the foot of a hill, around 46 kilometers from Bhopal. It is more of a village than a town. Sanchi is a religious Buddhist place with historical and archaeological significance. Sanchi is a site for the numerous stupas which were built on a hill top. Sanchi is known as a World Heritage Site, Sanchi that also reveals testimony of Gupta architecture besides the Buddhists ruins. The place is related to Buddhism but not directly to the life of Buddha. It is more related to Ashoka than to Buddha. Ashoka built the first stupa and put up many pillars here. The crown of famous Ashoka pillars, with four lions standing back to back, has been adopted as the national emblem of India.

Sanchi adopted Buddhism which replaced the prominent Hinduism. But time took its toll and slowly both the stupas and the place were forgotten. In 1818 Sanchi was rediscovered and it was found that the marvelous pieces of structure were not in good shape. Gradually historical and the religious significance of the place was recognise d. Restoration work of the stupas started in 1881 and finally between 1912 and 1919 these were carefully repaired and restored. It was accepted that the structure at Sanchi are the most organised construction which went into the engineering of temples in the medieval period. The carvings here are done with the precision of Jewelers.

Despite the damage and restoration work done Sanchi is the most evocative and attractive Buddhist site in India. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the gorgeous gateways add grace to the place. These gateways are beautifully carved and carry scenes from the life of Buddha or Ashoka. These gateways are the finest specimens of early classical art, which formed the seed bed of entire vocabulary of later Indian art. The images carved on the pillars and the stupas tell moving story of the incidents form the life of Buddha.

Best Time to Visit:

October to March

Places of Interest:

Great Stupa No.1, Toranas or Gateways, Stupa No. 2, Stupa no. 3, Ashoka Pillar, Buddhist Vihara, Monasteries. The Four Gate Ways: Constructed in 35 BC are the best from of Buddhist expression one can find any where in the world. Gateways or Torans as they are called are covered with explicit carving which depicts scenes from the life Buddha and Jatakas, the stories relating to Buddha and his earlier births.

The Ashoka pillars: Is one many pillars which are scattered in the area some of these are in broken and some in shape. Today here only the shaft stands and the crown is kept in the museum. The crown is the famous four lions which stand back to back. This figure was adopted as the national Emblem of India.

Stupas: The stupas date as early as the 3rd century and are built in brick made of stone. Most of Stupas which were built on the top of a hill. The purpose of these stupas was mostly religious. The most likely use of the stupas has been said to keep the relics.

Gupta Temple: This temple is now in ruins. Built in 5 the century and is an excellent example of ancient temple architecture in India.

The Museum: Houses many items which were discovered during the excavation of Sanchi area. Most prized possession of the museum is the lion crown from Ashoka pillar.

Buddhist Vihara: The earlier monasteries were made from wood which was exquisitely carved and tastefully decorated. The present monasteries are not even the shadow of what they were in the past. A few kms from Sanchi are the relics of the Satdhara Stupa. The relics are kept in glass casket which is placed on the inner sanctum of the modern monastery.

Great Bowl: Sanchi had a huge bowl carved out of single rock. Grain was stored in this bowl and it was distributed among the monks in Sanchi.


By Air: Nearest airport is Bhopal: 46 kms.

By Rail: Nearest railhead is Bhopal 46 kms.

By Road: Bhopal: 46 kms, Vidisha: 10 kms, Indore: 232 kms.

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