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Buddhist Monastery at Sanchi

Buddhist Monastery at Sanchi
Fact Files : Buddhist Monastery at Sanchi

Location : Near Aurangabad City, Maharashtra, India.
Faiths : Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.
Attraction : Indian rock-cut architecture, Cave Shrines Cut of Rocks.
Highlights : Ellora Festival of Classical Dance & Music.
Time to Visit : Anytime of the Year

Suggested Itinerary :

Emperor Asoka is widely known for his passionate role in spreading Buddhist teachings in Indian sub-continent and beyond. He built several dome-shaped Stupas all over India to house relics of Lord Buddha. Constructed in third century BC, these stupas had distinctive art and sculpture of Buddhist religious motifs and a polished stone pillar in between. Sanchi is home to most incredible Buddhist architecture such as temples, monasteries, and stupas.

An excellent base for bicycle excursion tours, Sanchi is an important stopover for Buddhist pilgrimage tour itineraries. Sanchi Stupas have magnificent gateways that depict incidents from Jataka Tales, especially the ones related to the life of Lord Buddha and his previous births. The Archaeological Survey of India Museum at Sanchi has a rich collection of earliest specimens of Indian art and stone sculptures that date back from 3rd century to 1st century BC.

Prime Attractions of Sanchi:

  • Stupa No. 1
    Originally built by Mauryan Emperor Asoka, the stupa was reconstructed in 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Today, this colossal hemispherical dome, which is 16.4 m high and has a diameter of about 36.5 m, is one of the oldest stone edifices in India. The four gateways or Toranas, aligned perfectly to four cardinal directions, are elaborately carved and were added to the Stupa much later.

True to the practice of early Buddhism, there are no images of Buddha here. Only the symbols that denote his teachings and life incidents are inscribed here including Lotus to represent His Birth, Tree to signify Enlightenment, Wheel to represent Buddha’s first Sermon, Footprints and Throne to denote His presence, and Stupa to denote Nirvana.

  • Stupa No. 2
    Dating back to 2nd century BC, it has a beautiful stone balustrade all around it.
  • Stupa No.3
    Built between 150-140 BC, it is situated close to the Great Stupa and house relics of two famous disciples of Buddha - Sariputra and Mahamogalana. The polished stone umbrella on its top hold a special religious significance.
  • Ashoka Pillar
    Close to the Southern Gateway of the Great Stupa, it was built around 3rd Century BC. Its brilliant polish and the four lion head stump that has been adopted as National Emblem of India are its most prominent features that extend its claim to fame.
  • The Great Bowl
    Carved out of a single block of stone, the food for monks in Sanchi was kept here.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India Museum
    Situated at the entry to the monument, this museum showcases remnants and findings of excavations here, and include pottery and parts of gateways in its collection.
  • Temples and Monasteries
    Temple is a Chaitya Hall that closely resembles rock-cut halls at Karla Caves in Maharashtra. The Monastery and Temple 45 was built during 7th and 11 centuries and show evolution of architectural styles during that period. It has image of Buddha with an oval Halo carved on its doorways.

Situated in Madhya Pradesh right in Central India, Sanchi is 46 km from Bhopal, capital of the state. Alternatively, you can take a train to Vidisha, 10 km from the town.

 Best time to visit
Winter season, from November to February, is the best time to visit Sanchi.


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