Sanchi Stupa is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh. It is a quintessential Buddhist pilgrimage site frequented by the followers of Buddhism, historians, archeologists, and visitors who are curious about this historic site. One of the most visited religious tourist attractions in India, Sanchi Stupa is the pride of Madhya Pradesh Tourism. Built in the 3rd century during the rule of great Emperor Ashoka, it is believed to be the oldest stone structure in India. Known for its architectural brilliance, the stupa is an incredible specimen of Buddhist heritage. Right from ornate torans, railings, and staircase, to stunning sculptures, every part of the structure is beautifully detailed.
Historically speaking, the very foundations of the Sanchi Stupa were laid with the primary purpose of spreading Buddhism. Considered one of the oldest architectural wonders of Buddhist heritage and age-old traditions, the splendour of this place is unparalleled. In its essence, the stupa signifies harmony, faith, and bravery.
Best Time To Visit Sanchi Stupa
Plan a trip to Sanchi Stupa in winters, from November to March. During this time, the sun shines brilliantly and the temperature is pleasant for sightseeing. In summers, scorching sun rays make it uncomfortable to explore the site. Sanchi Stupa's timings are from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days of the week. Sanchi Stupa visiting hours may vary on public and national holidays.
History Of Sanchi Stupa
The foundation of the Stupa was laid by the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. He had commissioned the inception of the stupa for the purpose of redistribution of the mortal remains (relics) of the Great Buddha himself.
Later on, the general of the Maurya Empire, Pushyamitra Shunga, killed Brihadratha Maurya in 185 BCE establishing the Shunga Dynasty. It is said that during the battle, the stupa was destroyed only to be reconstructed later on by his son, Agnimitra.
During the reign of the Shunga Dynasty, the expansion of the Stupa resulted in double its initial size. It is said that during this time, the dome of the stupa was constructed using the stone slabs which covered the primary stupa made out of bricks.
Lost in the testimony of time, Sanchi Stupa was later discovered in the year 1818 by General Taylor. In 1919, Sir John Marshall established an archaeological survey to honor its architectural brilliance.
Places To Visit Near Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi Stupa is very famous among tourists. It is one of the famous places to visit in Madhya Pradesh. Here's the list of the places you can explore near Sanchi Stupa.
1. Upper Lake
It is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions to visit while on your trip to Sanchi Stupa. It is considered to be one of the oldest human-made lakes in India. The locals also refer to it as the Bada Talab. It is known to serve around 30 million gallons of water to the people residing nearby.
2. Van Vihar
This is basically a National Park and a Zoological Space. Located nearby Upper Lake, it is a must-visit tourist spot for those who love nature. While visiting here, one can spot a great number of a wide variety of animals like leopards, bulbuls, wagtails, and many others.
Bhimbetka is one of the world’s most significant heritage sites. For any historical enthusiast, this place is simply unskippable. A visit to these caves will surely give a sneak peek into the prehistoric era. According to data, it is believed that these caves were inhabited by humans more than 1,00,000 years ago.
4. Sanchi Museum
Sanchi Museum is a symbol of architectural brilliance and religious heritage of India. The museum houses some of the rare but stunning sculptures, artefacts, and antique items. The museum is located amidst a verdant setting. It opens its doors to visitors at 9 in the morning and closes at 5 pm. The museum is owned and managed by the Archeological Survey of India.
5. Ashoka Pillar
It is one of the most visited and renowned tourist attractions in Sanchi. Located close to the southern entrance to Sanchi Stupa, this pillar reflects Grecko-Buddhist style of architecture. Well-proportioned, the structural balance of the pillar is worth admiring. The polish on the pillar is amazing and shines brilliantly.
6. Udaygiri Caves
Located 13 km from Sanchi, the Udaygiri Caves dates back to the 3rd Century. It houses spectacular Jain and Hindu temples in a sequence. These caves enjoy immense historical significance. The hindu temples are decorated with intricate carvings of Lord Vishnu. Nearby these caves, a 6th Century Gupta Temple is perched atop a hill. These caves reflect the rich historical, cultural, religious, and architectural legacy of our country.
How To Reach Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi is a small place in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. that doesn't have an airport. Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal is the nearest airport which is 47 km from Sanchi. The roads and railways are well connected with other parts of the country.
The nearest airport is the Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal which has great connectivity with all major cities of India. After deboarding your flight, you will need to cover the remaining distance by another mode of transportation.
Distance from Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal. 54.5 Km
The major railway station near Sanchi Stupa is Bhopal Junction which is located around 50 km away from the historical site. This station is a major railhead in Madhya Pradesh that has regular trains from all the cities of India. You can either take a cab or a bus from Bhopal Junction or travel via another connecting train. You will need to deboard at the Sanchi Railway Station and from there take a cab or a bus to reach your destination.
Distance from Bhopal Junction, Bhopal. 47.7 Km
The state has well-maintained road networks and has great connectivity via bus. Buses operate on a daily basis to and fro from nearest places like Bhopal, Indore, etc. You can also drive down in your own vehicle or hire a private or shared cab.
Ques 1. What is the major attraction in Sanchi Stupa?
Ans 1. The oldest stone structure in Stupa, the Great Stupa is the major attraction in Sanchi Stupa. It was commissioned by the greatest ruler of the times, Ashoka the Great in 3rd Century BCE.
Ques 2. Why was Sanchi Stupa built?
Ans 2. The purpose behind building Sanchi Stupa was to propagate and preserve the unique way of life as stated in Buddhist philosophy. The relief structures in Stupas tell us a lot about Buddha’s way of life.
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