Pilgrimage Tour
Pilgrimage Tour

Sanchi - Oldest Buddhist Stupa in the World

Sanchi was built by the Mauryana Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjaini. It is venerated as the site of the oldest Buddhist Stupa in the world and it also has Buddhist temples, monasteries and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC TO 12th century AD. Sanchi occupies a big space in the history of Buddhism. Located on a hilltop, Sanchi is a religious place with archaeological and historical significance, mostly related to the spread of Buddhism. Sanchi is one of the oldest pilgrimage points in India.

Location

Sanchi is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

How to Reach in Sanchi

  • By Air – Bhopal airport is the nearest airport to visit Sanchi. It is located at a distance of 46km from Sanchi. Bhopal airport is connected to all major cities of India.
  • By Train – Vidisha is the nearest railway station from Sanchi at a distance of 10km.
  • By Road – Sanchi is well connected to all the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. Many private and state transportation facilities are available for Sanchi.

Accommodation in Sanchi

Few lodges and resthouse operated by Buddhist societies offer decent and very cheap accommodation for the pilgrims. Few hotels are also available in this city.

  • Gateway Retreat – The hotel is 55 km away from Bhopal airport and 9 km away from Vidisha railway station and the nearest bus station is 9 km away, which is Vidisha Bus Depot. This hotel is close to the area’s well known attractions and Sanchi stupa is a 20 minute walk away
  • Hotel Sambodhi – This hotel is 1km from Sanchi bus station, 8km from Vidisha railway station and 40km from Bhopal airport. Sanchi stupa is 500 m away from this property.

What/Where to Eat in Sanchi

Sanchi does not have too many eating places but the few eating joints available here offer decent North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and continental dish. The local food of Madhya Pradesh that you might chance upon here are Dal Bafna, Biryani, Kebabs, Korma as well as beverages like Lassi and sugarcane juice.

Gateway Cafeteria– Run by the Madhya Pradesh Government this simple yet clean eatery has a very basic Indian menu and coffee.

Places to Visit in Sanchi

The Stupas – Sanchi is quite famous for its Stupas, had many a name in the historical times, such as Kakanaya, Kakanava, Kakanadabota etc. The stupas in the place are simple irresistible and showcases the history of Buddhism in India. There is some stupa built by Ashoka, which are special attractions of this place.
The glorious Sanchi stupa is is believed to be the oldest stone structure in India and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.

Gateways of Sanchi – a hemispherical brick structure, the stupa is surrounded by four gateways called Torans, each representing love, trust, courage and peace. These gateways are beautifully crafted and sculptured, some having its own dramatic narrations and tales associated with them. These are among those rare pieces of architecture that did not receive any direct royal patronage, the money was contributed by local devotees. The Torans of Sanchi reflect remarkable architectural dexterity and are a must see for any tourist.

The Sanchi Museum – the Arhaeological Survey of India has a museum in Sanchi housing many antiquities related to Buddhism. This museum was established on the hilltop in 1919, by Sir John Marshall, former Director General of ASI. Later Archaeological Survey of India acquired a college building at the foot hill of Sanchi stupa and got the exhibits shifted to the new building in the year 1966. Entry to the museum is through the main hall, Which serves as the key gallery. The museum comprises a great hall and four galleries named as gallery No.1 to 4. The objects aesthetically displayed in the gallery are the representative member of six cultural periods, i.e. Maurya, Sunga, Satvahana, Kushana, Gupta and post Gupta period. The Ashokan Pillar in the main hall invites visitor’s attention. The Sanchi museum has cosseted the culture, traditions and architecture in India.

Ashoka Pillar – Established in the 3rd century, it flaunts the Greco-Buddhist architecture in India. The pillar is also known for its exquisite construction and perfect structural balance. The polish of the Ashoka pillar is brilliant and shines to this day. It is rather unfortunate but the total Ashoka Pillar does not stand here now. The shaft of the pillar can only be seen at the gateway and the crown has been kept in the museum.

Vidisha – Vidisha is just 10km away from Sanchi. It is most attractive landscape around Sanchi. Vidisha tourism has many places of religious and historical importance to offer to its travellers. Some of the important temples in Vidisha are the Udayeshwara Temple, Mala Devi Temple, Bajramath Temple, Girdhari Temple. Sironj is a famous pigrim centre for the Jain community in Vidisha. Heliodorus Pillar, which is lso called Khamba Baba is another popular hotspot in Vidisha. The Udaygiri Caves is one of the most prominent attractions of Vidisha.

When to Visit Sanchi

The best months to visit Sanchi are from November to February.

Sanchi is a must visit for every Buddhist going on pilgrimage and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Where to Stay

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