Sanchi

Located on a hilltop, just two odd driving hours distance from Bhopal (the capital of Madhya Pradesh), Sanchi is a religious place with archaeological and historical significance. The Sanchi stupa, was built in and around 283 BCE by Ashoka, the famous Indian emperor who converted to Buddhism. Peace, that Emperor Asoka found in Buddhism is also reflected in the serenity and tranquillity of Sanchi. Besides the famous Stupa, there are many stupas, chaityas, temples, monasteries and gateways in Sanchi, embellished with frescoes and carvings that depict various incidents in the Buddhas life as well as his teachings. A guide or guidebook available at the Sanchi museum would go a long way to really savour and understand Sanchi.

Best Time to Visit: November to February
Languages Spoken: Hindi
Climate: Hot summers, average monsoon, cool and pleasant winters
Heritage sites: The Sanchi Stupa, The Four GateWays, The Ashoka Pillar, Many stupas, chaityas, temples, monasteries, pillars and gateways dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD
Knowledge Centre: The Sanchi Museum

Sanchi – of Serene and Secluded Stups

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After wandering around the hill, you are drawn back to the crown jewel that is the Stup 1. The four magnificent gateways with their exquisite carvings are the main attraction of Sanchi and its trademark. The stup was embellished with the eye-popping carved torans in the 1st century BC by the Satavahans. Satavahans were the right people with the right credentials for the job. They gave us the glorious Ajanta temples. You are just relieved that the torans have survived for over two thousand years in almost pristine condition. Of course credit goes to Cunningham and Marshall for the restoration efforts.

The four gateways are installed at four cardinal directions of the stup. They have a common design – two square pillars with capitals and surmounted by three parallel architraves. All sides of the columns and the rear and front of the architraves are profusely carved. You could mistake the carved panels for wood or ivory. A lot of carving is overlapping and would require highly skilled workers. Reportedly, the workers were ivory carvers of Vidisha.

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Timeless in Sanchi

Timeless in Sanchi

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Before the stupa, let’s dwell a little on the township itself (we are after all travelling, not just visiting a place on the tourist map). It’s a small, small place, and if you are here to stay, practically everyone will know that you have arrived before the day is out. At least that’s how it feels. If you have a white skin, you can be sure of it. And yet, unlike many other Indian places, there is no one to hassle you, with postcards to sell or hotel rooms to show. The place itself is almost Buddhist in its quietness.

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Hindustan Ka Dil Dekho (M.P. Trip) – Part 1

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After having good time watching all above, we moved to the left side of the premises, to see if there was anything left. And there found a small handicraft shop, a tiny farm where white pigeons, rabbits and ducks are being kept and an astonishing view point, from where we could see whole of Sanchi’s wheat fields. It was completely mesmerizing.

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