Sanchi Stupa

A Sanchi, a small town just 46 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, is synonymous with the Great Stupa that stands as a fine specimen of stone art in India. The complex, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, houses some fine structures and is one of the best-preserved Buddhist monuments in India. An emblem of ancient stone art and Buddhist philosophies; Sanchi stupa complex is a delight for historians, Buddhist pilgrimages, and art aficionados.

Sanchi Stupa Complex- The History

Sanchi Stupa Complex- The History

The complex is home to various stupas, ornamental gateways, and relics of temples & monasteries built from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. It was commissioned by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty, who built around 84,000 stupas to spread the message of Buddhism. The complex was further augmented by structures built by various rulers who subsequently ruled the region. Although Lord Buddha never visited Sanchi, the Stupa is of great historical importance and is a much-sacred relic of Buddhism. The structures went into ruin in the 12th century circa and were rediscovered & restored in the 19th century.

Sanchi Stupa Complex - The Architecture

The Great Stupa

The Great Stupa

One of the oldest stone-built structures in India, Sanchi Stupa, was built originally in brick by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. It was further enhanced by the Shunga rulers who almost doubled its diameter by encasing it in stone, and built a balustrade & railing around it. The current structure stands 21.64 m high and measures 36.5 m in diameter. Built on a raised terrace, its flat-top adorned with a tall umbrella-like structure, the Great Stupa is the principal monument in the complex and is home to Lord Buddha’s sacred relics.

The Gateways/ Toranas

The Gateways/ Toranas

Dating back to the 1st century BC, these gateways were built by the Satavahana rulers, who took over the region after defeating the Shunga kings. The four stone gateways, built in the four directions, are adorned with brilliant sculptures depicting the life, birth & rebirth of Lord Buddha in keeping with the Jataka Tales.

Ashoka Pillar

Ashoka Pillar

Built-in highly polished sandstone and once adorned with the emblem of four lions, the Ashoka Pillar in the complex is now in ruins. A part of the pillar stands near the Southern Gateway while the rest of it is preserved in the Sanchi Archeological Museum.

Other Monuments

Other Monuments

The complex also houses other monuments, including a Chaitya Vihar (assembly hall), a pillared temple, and two more stupas that are believed to be built during the Shunga period.

Sanchi Archeological Museum

Sanchi Archeological Museum

Located at the archeological site of Sanchi, this museum displays various artifacts that were found in the Sanchi Stupa Complex. The lion capital of the Ashoka Pillar, a colossal image of Bodhisattva Vajrapani, a stunning Yakshani figurine, and a seated statue of Buddha are some of the prized possessions of this museum.

Well, this is just a sneak-peek into the rich archeological complex at Sanchi. Just write to us to receive personalized tour packages for a walk back in time & teachings of Lord Buddha. We promise you a luxurious Buddha Circuit tour for an insight into the rich Buddhist heritage of India.

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