is a serene hill crowned by a group of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars
dating from 3rd Century BC to the 12th Century AD. The
glory that was Sanchi, an ancient seat of Buddhist learning and place of
pilgrimage, can still be experienced in its complex structures where many Buddhist
legends founds expression in the rich sculpture.
Buddha is not represented through figures at Sanchi, but through symbols, as was
the tradition in the early period of Buddhism.
The lotus represents the Buddha’s
birth, the tree signifies his enlightenment, the wheel represents his first sermon
and the stupa represents his nirvana or salvation. The footprints and the throne
denote the Buddha’s presence.
was virtually forgotten after the 13th Century until 1818, when
General Taylor, a British Officer rediscovered it, half buried and well preserved.
Later in 1912, Sir John Marshal, Director General of Archaeology ordered the
restoration work at the site. Some of the important monuments in Sanchi are :-
Great Stupa No. 1, 36.5 mtrs. in diameter and 16.4 mtrs. high, it is one of the
oldest stone structures in
. With a massive hemispherical dome, the Stupa stands majestically.
paved procession path around it has become smooth by centuries of pilgrims’
visit. Built originally as an earthern stupa by the Emperor
Ashoka, it was rebuilt
in the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC. The last of the additions
to this remarkable stupa are the elaborate and richly gateways or
first of the four gateways to be erected was the one at the Southern Entrance,
followed, in chronological order by the Northern, the Eastern and the Western
Southern Gateway reveals the birth of Gautam in a series of dramatically rich
carvings. The Northern Gateway, crowned by a wheel of law, illustrates the miracle
associated with the Buddha as told in the Jataka tales.
Eastern Gateway, depicts the young prince, Gautam, leaving his father’s palace,
renouncing worldly life to seek enlightenment. The inner face of the right pillar
portrays the dream of Maya, the mother of Buddha, when she conceived him. The
Western Gateway depicts the Seven incarnations of the Buddha, four represented by
trees and three by stupas; the Buddha preaching his first sermon at the
, Sarnath and the Chhaddanta Jataka tale.
No.2, dating back to the 2nd Century BC, stands at the very edge of
the hill and its most striking feature is the stone balustrade that surrounds it.
No.3 situated northeast of the Great Stupa is where the relics of Sariputra and
Mahamogalana, the two famous disciples of the Buddha were found in its inner most
chambers. The hemispherical dome is crowned, as a mark of its special religious
significance, with an umbrella of polished stone. It has only one gateway. This
structure belongs to the period between 150-140 BC.
Pillar, with its four lion head stump, erected during the 3rd Century
BC, is situated close to the Southern Gateway of the Great
Stupa. Though, similar
to the intricately carved pillar in Sarnath, the lions did not support a “Wheel
of Law” (Dharmachakra). A unique feature of this pillar is its brilliant polish.
(4th Century AD), in ruins
now, is one of the earliest known examples of temple architecture in
. It consists of a simple flat roofed chamber with a pillared porch in front.
18, a Chaitya Hall, situated in front of the Southern Gateway of the Great Stupa
is comparatively recent (around 7th Century A.D.) resembles the
rock-cut chaitya halls at Karla Caves in Maharashtra. The Monastery and
45, built between the 7th and 11th Centuries, show more
developed styles of architecture. On the ornamental doorway here, one can see the
image of Buddha with an oval Halo.
Great Bowl, caved out of one block of stone, contained food that was distributed
amongst the monks of Sanchi.
Archaeological Survey of India Museum, situated at the entrance to the monument,
exhibits findings and remains of the excavated site. Among these are caskets, lion
capital of the Ashokan Pillar and images.
The best time to visit :- The best
time to visit is between October
||How To Get
nearest airport is at
nearest railhead is vadisha (10 kms).
by road to
(68 kms). Taxis ply from