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The Buddhist stupa at Sanchi

Sanchi is a village in Madhya Pradesh in India, about 9 km southwest of Vidisha and 46 km from Bhopal. It is the site of a great Buddhist stupas listed on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Vidisha was the capital city of the ancient Malwa kingdom. Over the years, many Buddhist monuments were constructed within a 20 kilometre radius of Vidisha.

The emperor Asoka married a woman from Vidisha. He built for her the Caityagiri Vihara at Sanchi. Their son the Arahant Mahinda set out from this place to convert Sri Lanka. Their daughter Sanghamitta set off from here with a sapling of the sacred Bo-tree from Bodhgaya, which was planted in Anuradhapura: the Sri Mahabodhi which is the oldest recorded tree in the world.

The Sanchi stupas date from the third century BC and are some of the best preserved historical monuments in India. There is no direct connection between Sanchi and the Buddha. The seventh century Chinese traveler Huen Tsang, who journeyed across India and wrote in detail about Buddhist monuments in India does not even mention Sanchi in his travelogues.

Yet, Sanchi is a must-see on every Buddhist's pilgrimage of Buddhist holy sites.

Get in[edit]

46 km from Bhopal, which is very well connected to the rest of India. Your own vehicle is not a must, as any buses going to Vidisha from Bhopal can drop you within half a kilometre of the village. And everything, including the site and the lodging facilities, is within 1 square kilometre. Also, the Sanchi railway station is very close to the village.

On the way to Sanchi from Bhopal, you cross the Tropic of Cancer. Highway signage indicate the distance as your approach. There are markers on both sides of the road where you can take a picture standing on Tropic of Cancer. Do take care to park you vehicle on the side of the highway in a safe area as there is no designated parking area.

You can also reach by Vidisha station, a less known but located very near to Sanchi.

See[edit]

  • 1 Sanchi Stupas. Open sunrise to sunset. The events of Buddha's life are carved in stone on the four gates at east, west, north and south sides of the Stupa. The site is very well maintained by the Archaelogical Survey of India. The Stupa and surrounding monuments have been very well restored. Guides appointed by the MP Govt Tourism are well informed and charge Rs 611 for about an hour of guided tour. The Stupas of Sanchi appear on the 200 Indian Rupee currency note. ₹ 40 for Indians, SAARC and BIMSTEC visitors, ₹ 600 for other foreigners. Free for children below 15 years.
  • Lion Pillar Capital in the Archaelogical Site Museum, Sanchi
    Lion Pillar Capital in the Archaeological Site Museum, Sanchi
    2 Archaeological Museum. 9AM to 5PM. They have some wonderful artifacts there. The history and historical artifacts from places around Sanchi. Metal-tools and beautiful sculptures as old as 2000 years make you think about that era. The museum also showcases the history and revival of this place. ₹ 5 for all.

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

Within the stupas boundary, you can buy literature and maps for various tourism sites in MP. At Gateway Retreat (M.P. Tourism Hotel) you can buy handcrafted statues of Lord Buddha, Sanchi Stupa, etc in marble, stone, wood and other materials at Alankar Handicrafts.

Eat[edit]

Good north Indian, south Indian, continental, and Chinese food is available.

Drink[edit]

One can try sugarcane juice from local vendors but keep an eye on hygiene aspect. Tourists should rely only on packaged drinking water. Before buying make sure your Mineral water bottle is properly sealed.

Sleep[edit]

  • Jaiswal Lodge (On your right as you exit the train station). Rooms are badly maitained, dirty, not secured from mosquitos. Food is overpriced. INR600.
  • MP Tourism Lodging. Two very good lodging facilities with good, tasty MP food. The availability of rooms, however, can be an issue.
  • Sanchi Vandana Niketana. Administered by the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi together administer this pilgrims' rest house.

Go next[edit]


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