Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Sanchi: The City of Stupas

Sanchi is a complex of Buddhist monuments and structures known to be one of the oldest structures in the country. Dated back to about 3rd century B.C. by Emperor Ashoka. This place houses one of the most intricate and detailed art and architecture that can be studied to learn about the development of Buddhist culture. This place has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Sanchi is known for its ancient structures, including stupas, monasteries, gateways with intricate and delicate details, and other remnants of the Buddhist culture in the country. It is also a famous pilgrimage for the devout Buddhists and is visited by tourists worldwide.


What is famous in Sanchi?

1. Sanchi Stupa

Stupa - Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Stupa – Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

The Stupa is one of the most famous structures in the area. The Stupa was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and was built around the 3rd century B.C. The hemispherical dome is more than 30 metres in diameter and 50 ft in height. Made in honour of Lord Buddha, the structure also houses the burial mound of remains of Lord Buddha.

2. The Great Bowl

The Great Bowl - Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
The Great Bowl – Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Another relic from over 2300 years ago, the Great Bowl at Sanchi, is Buddhist culture and history. The Grand Gumbha or the Great Bowl was constructed by carving out a massive block of stone and was used in ancient times to distribute food and other things to the monks who lived there.

3. Ashok Pillar

Ashok Pillar - Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Ashok Pillar – Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

The Ashok Pillars are monolithic columns built by Emperor Ashoka and were called the “pillars of Dharma”. Out of the many erected pillars, 20 have survived the test of time, and many have inscriptions. The pillars have an average height between 12 and 15 metres.

4. The Eastern Gateway

The Eastern Gateway - Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
The Eastern Gateway – Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

The gateways were built in BC 35, and they depict the different phases and events in the life of Lord Buddha. The Eastern Gateway is one of the most significant of them, representing the stages of Lord Buddha’s journey from the birth in a royal household to the enlightenment he attained. The gateways are carved with intricate details and are still visible over 2000 years later.


By Air:

Sanchi does not have airports or flight connectivity. The nearest airport is in Bhopal, about 47 kms from the town centre. The Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal, is well connected to major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. and also has services to major international destinations. Direct taxis can be availed from the airport to reach Sanchi. The taxi ride can cost about Rs. 800-1000/-.

By Rail:

Sanchi has a railway station, but that has few services and that too, to limited places. It will be convenient and more accessible for the visitors to reach the Bhopal Junction railway station about 50 kms from the town centre and use other modes of transportation to reach the town. The Bhopal Junction is connected to major cities in all directions and has frequent services available quickly.

What is best time to visit Sanchi?


Best Season: Winter-Onset of Summer (November-March). The temperature ranges from 28-32 degrees celsius and is apt for sightseeing and outdoor visits.

Must See: Pachmarhi: The Queen of Satpura

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