Sanchi, a small little town in the state of Madhya Pradesh is renowned for soaring the fame of Buddhism to excellent heights. Addressed as Kakanaya, Kakanava, Kakanadabota in the ancient times, Sanchi was a prime trading hub for many business merchants. The town gladly flaunts its rich Buddhist art and culture. This fantabulous place with rich cultural heritage is famed for Asoka pillar, the world famous Stupa, monasteries and prosperous architectural treasure.
Sanchi rose to the zenith of fame during the rule of the Mauryan Empire between 3rd Century BC to 12th Century AD. The daring Emperor Asoka contributed greatly for the spread of Buddhism. Highly influenced by the ardent Buddha devotee named Devi, The King constructed the Stupa 1, which served highly to spread the fame of Buddha and his teachings far and wide. The Satvahanas constructed the magnificent gateways to the Great Stupa. The carvings on the pillars and gateways explain about the life and achievements of Lord Buddha. During the Gupta rule around 14th century, some temples and monasteries were built.
Our National Emblem is taken from the famous Ashoka pillar, where at the end of a tall pole four standings lions are placed back to back facing four different directions. The site was neglected and abandoned after the 14th century. But during the 18th century this little town was brought back to light by General Taylor. In about 1919, Sir John Marshall built an archaeological museum. Recently UNESCO tagged Sanchi as a ‘Site of Cultural Heritage’ and excavation work is in progress here.
The town of Sanchi has a lot to offer for those keen on historic splendour. Apart from history this beautiful town is blessed with natural beauty in abundance. Sanchi’s serene and calm topography is certainly a solace to those who are coming from a busy city life.
October-March is the best time to visit Sanchi. Festival of Chethiyagiri Vihara is celebrated with great devotion in the month of November. Many budget-hotels and cafeterias are set up for the convenience of the tourists.
PLACES TO VISIT
Great Stupa : One of the oldest stone monuments in India attracts the onlookers with its huge dome. The Stupa is estimated to have a height of about 16.5 mts and 36.5 mts of diameter. Majestic gateways has been constructed to the Stupas.
The Eastern Gateway : This gateway illustrates about young Buddha leaving the palace giving up all worldly pleasures to become a saint.
Western Gateway : This gateway portray the seven embodiments of Lord Buddha.
The Northern Gateway : The miracles of the Lord is depicted here.
The Southern Gateway : Beautiful carvings here showcases the birth of Buddha.
Stupa 2 : This Stupa is stunningly placed in a scenic locale on top of a hill. The stone parapet surrounding the stupa is yet other interesting feature.
Stupa 3 : This stupa consists of the monuments in memory of 2 faithful disciples of Buddha called Sariputta and Mahamogallena.
The Ashoka Pillar : Our National Emblem is taken from the famous Ashoka pillar, where at the end of a tall pole four standings lions are placed back to back facing four different directions.
The Great Bowl : It is huge bowl which contained food that was served for the monks.
The Museum : This museum displays the rare and antique articals that were discovered while unearthing the heritage site.
The Buddhist Vihara
The Gupta Temple
HOW TO REACH
By Air : Bhopal about 46 kms from Sanchi is the nearest airport. It has flights to major metropolitan cities.
By Road : Bhopal (46kms), Indore (232kms) and Vidisha (10kms) are well connected by road to Sanchi.
By Rail : Bhopal, the capital city with major rail head connects to important cities.