Experience the world of stupas, pillars, and temples at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Posted on November 15, 2016 by

Rediscovered by General Taylor in the year 1818, Sanchi is a small hill station in the heart of Madhya Pradesh where hundreds of Buddhist legends found salvation. It hosts temples, stupas, and pillars of historical significance that date back to over thousands of years. The ancient Buddhist pilgrimage has now become one of the most popular tourist attractions in India.

Here is the guide to some of the most important stupas and monuments in Sanchi.

Stupa no.1

Touted as one of the greatest stupas in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, Stupa no. 1 is also the oldest stone structure in India originally built by the Great Ashoka in his lifetime. It was later rebuilt by his followers in 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

There are four gateways in the stupa: Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western. The Southern Gateway signifies the birth of the Lord Gautam Buddha. The Northern Gateway reflects the miracle of Buddha as told in Jataka tales. The Eastern Gateway highlights Gautam Buddha’s search for enlightenment while the Western Gateway showcases the seven rebirths of the Lord Gautam Buddha.

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Stupa no. 2

This is one of the most outstanding stupas at Sanchi that sits at the edge of the hill. One of the most interesting features of this historically significant monument is that it is surrounded by stone balustrade.

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Stupa no. 3

Built in around 150-140 BC, this is one of the most popular stupas amongst tourists from around the world. Relics of Sariputra and Mahamoglana—two most famous disciples of Gautam Buddha—were discovered in its inner chambers. On the top of the Stupa is an umbrella to mark its religious value.

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Ashoka Pillar

Ashoka pillar was built somewhere in the 3rd century. It has heads of four lions without a wheel called Dharamchakra. However, the Ashoka pillar of Sarnath boasts a Dharmachakra. One of the most attractive features of the pillar is its ancient architecture, art, and finishing.

Other destinations to visit in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Gupta Temple

Built in 4th century AD, Gupta Temple is one of the oldest temples of the country that also highlights the art of Indian temple architecture. However, the temple is not in a good condition now. It holds immense religious significance.  It has a porch supported by pillars and a chamber with a flat roof.

Great Bowl

The great bowl was used to keep food that was later distributed amongst the monks of Sanchi. It has been made from a single block of a stone.

Vidisha

This city in Madhya Pradesh is around 10 kms from Sanchi. One of the main attractions is the ruins of Brahmanical Shrine that is believed to have used the cement for the first time in India. Do not forget to visit Vidisha Museum.

Udaygiri Caves

There are a group of caves about 4 kms from Vidisha. One of the inscriptions on one of the caves suggest that they were built by Chandragupta II in 4-5 AD.

Local delicacies to try

The town offers a subtle variety; it is a hub of few popular eating joints which offer great North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes. Some local delicacies of Madhya Pradesh that you must try, while here are Dal Bafla, Biryani, Kebabs, Korma, Poha.

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