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Ashoka's Stupa at Sanchi is the major tourist attraction of Sanchi and offers to see ASI Museum, Toranas or Gateways, Ashokan Pillars are some other attractions of this Buddhist tourist destination, Sanchi.
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Home :: Buddhist Destinations in India :: Sanchi

Sanchi

Introduction
SanchiWhether a Buddhist by faith or not, Sanchi is a name that perhaps everyone must have heard of. Though Buddhism had its genesis in India, its message and philosophies reached far and wide. And today this system of beliefs has its adherents across the globe. Devotees, tourists, researchers and historians flock to Sanchi year after year to gain an insight into the way of life called Buddhism. Sanchi is an accumulation of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars. The site is mainly known for the stupa that was built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC. During the succeeding years that followed, more stupas, monasteries and temples were erected here. However, with the decline of Buddhism, Sanchi went into a state of oblivion. It was only in the year 1818 that a British officer rediscovered the site. Between 1912 and 1919, Sanchi was carefully restored to its present status by Sir John Marshall.


Location & Climate
Sanchi is situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The town lies 46 km east of Bhopal, the capital city of the state. Summers are hot at Sanchi. Maximum temperature during the season records 45 degrees Centigrade. During the winters, temperature can plummet to a minimum of 10 degrees Centigrade. November to February is the ideal time to visit here.


Sightseeing
For the Buddhists, Sanchi has every reason to be visited. For non-Buddhists, history is the reason. Sanchi is strewn with a number of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars belonging to the distant past. The first and foremost to visit is the stupa built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great.

Stupa, Sanchi» Ashoka's Stupa : The Ashoka's stupa at Sanchi is the cynosure of all eyes. The stupa was erected by the Buddhist emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC. King Ashoka had a change of heart after the gory scene in the battle of Kalinga and thus converted into a Buddhist. He later built a number of pillars and stupas. Originally, there were eight stupas at Sanchi. Unfortunately, only three stand today.

» ASI Museum : The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum is yet another big draw for tourists here. The museum displays numerous antiquities belonging to the Mauryan Period. The artifacts displayed also include a number of metal objects that were used by Buddhist monks in the past. Ancient sculptures dating back between the 3rd and the 1st century BC can also be viewed here.

» Toranas or Gateways : Erected in 35 BC, the four toranas or gateways are fine representation of the early Buddhist art. The gateways depict scenes from the life of Buddha. Some of the symbols on the toranas include Lord Buddha's birth, his being enlightened under the Bodhi Tree and even his footprints.

» Ashokan Pillars : Sanchi is replete with Buddhist pillars and remains of pillars. All the pillars bear some important proclamations made by emperor Ashoka. For instant, the pillar lying close to the Southern Gateway comes along with a warning against schism in the Buddhist community.

Besides exploring the ancient Buddhist art at Sanchi, you can also visit the nearby sites like Vidisha (12 km) and Udaigiri (13 km). These two sites are known for their ancient architectural legacy and are important historical sites.


Accommodation Options
Sanchi does not have too many accommodation options except for a few guest houses and tourist lodges. However, tourists can stay at Bhopal where stay options are plenty. Some famous hotels of Bhopal are as follows.

Hotels in Sanchi
¤ Jehan Numa Palace Hotel ( Heritage)
¤ Noor-us-Sabah Palace (Heritage)
¤ The Residency Hotel (4 Star)
¤ Lake View Ashoka (3 Star)
¤ Amer Palace (3 Star)


Accessibility
Bhopal, at a distance of 46 km, is the closest airport from Sanchi. The airport at Bhopal has flights connecting to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Gwalior, Indore etc. Though Vidisha Railway Station lies at a distance of 10 km from Sanchi, the major railway station is Bhopal. The road network is well established linking Sanchi with Indore, Sagar, Gwalior, Vidisha and Raisen.






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