State : Bihar
Sanchi is known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars
the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The most famous of
these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the
Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjayini, whose wife
Devi was the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Their
son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayini and
sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the King, the Queen and
their people to Buddhism.
A Chunar sandstone pillar fragment, shining with the proverbial
Mauryan polish, lies near Stupa I and carries the famous edict
of Ashoka warning against schism in the Buddhist community. Stupa
1 was found empty, while relics of the two disciples of Buddha
enshrined in the adjacent Stupa 3 were carried away to England.
The nearby modern temple has a reliquary containing the remains
of a Buddhist teacher from another Stupa outside Sanchi.
Place to See
Great Stupa No. 1
The oldest stone structure in India. 36.5 mt in diameter and 16.4
MT high, with a massive hemispherical dome, the stupa stands in
eternal majesty, the paved procession path around it worn smooth
by centuries of pilgrims.
The Eastern Gateway
Depicts the young prince, Gautama leaving his father's palace
on his journey towards enlightenment and the dream his mother
had before his birth. The Western Gateway Depicts the seven incarnations
of the Buddha. The Northern Gateway Crowned by a wheel-of-law,
this depicts the miracles associated with the Buddha as told in
the jatakas. The Southern Gateway The birth of Gautama is revealed
in a series of dramatically rich carvings.
Stupa No. 2
The stupa stands at the very edge of the hill and its most striking
feature is the stone balustrade that rings it.
Stupa No. 3
Situated close to the great stupa. The hemispherical dome is crowned,
as a mark of its special religious significance, with an umbrella
of polished stone. The relics of Sariputta and Mahamogallena ,
two of the Buddha's earliest disciples, were found in its inmost
The Ashoka Pillar
Lies close to the Southern gateway of the Great Stupa, and is
one of the finest examples of the Ashokan pillar and is known
for its aesthetic proportions and exquisite structural balance.
The Great Bowl
Carved out of one block of stone, this mammoth bowl contained
the food that was distributed among the monks of Sanchi.
The Gupta Temple
In ruins now, this 5th century AD temple is one of the earliest
known examples of temple architecture in India.
The Buddhist Vihara
The sacred relics of the Satdhara Stupa, a few km away from Sanchi,
have been enshrined in a glass casket on a platform in the inner
sanctum of his modern monastery.
The Archaeological Survey of India maintains a site museum at Sanchi.
Note worthy antiquities on display include the lion capital of the
Ashokan pillar and metal objects used by the monks, discovered during
excavations at Sanchi.
How to Reach
Nearest airport is at Bhopal ( 46 km via Diwanganj and 78 km via Raisen) which is connected with Delhi, Mumbai,Gwalior and Indore.
Sanchi lies on the Jhansi-Itarsi section of the Central railways. However, the most convenient railhead is Vidisha.(10 km)
Good, motorable roads connect Sanchi with Bhopal, Indore Sagar, Gwalior, Vidisha and Raisen, besides other places.