Sacred Sanchi
Sacred Sanchi
23°28'46.0"N 77°44'26.2"E

Sacred Sanchi

  • Unesco World Heritage Site ‘Mahastupa’ - Great Stupa

    UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Mahastupa’ (Great stupa) stands here

  • Gupta Temple Architecture

    Home to the Gupta temple, one of the earliest examples of temple architecture

  • Gupta Art through Udayagiri Caves

    Displays Gupta art through Udaygiri caves that were built in 5th century

  • 4 Gateways - Life through Intricate Carvings

    Houses 4 gateways that showcase Buddha’s life through intricate carvings

  • Asokan Pillar at Archeological Museum

    The lion capital of Ashokan pillar can be found at the archeological museum

The builder and
the restorer

The Builder & the Restorer

The architecture
of enlightenment

The Architecture of Enlightenment

The town of Sanchi is synonymous with Buddhist Stupas - hemispherical structures typically containing relics of the Buddha or his followers. The Stupas of Sanchi were constructed on the orders of Emperor Ashoka to preserve and spread the Buddhist philosophy. Sanchi has been protecting these beautiful and sacred architectural wonders, just the way these wonders have been safeguarding ancient history and art of the Mauryan period.

The numerous stupas, temples, monasteries and an Ashokan pillar have been the focus of interest and awe for global audiences as well. In fact, UNESCO has given the status of 'World Heritage Site' to the Mahastupa.

A visit to Sanchi will bring alive the awe you felt as a child as you listened to the tales of Ashoka.

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How to get here?

Reaching by Air

Reaching Sanchi by Air

Nearest airport is in Bhopal city, the Raja Bhoj airport. Sanchi is 55 km north-east of Bhopal airport, which is well-connected with other airports like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Delhi.

Reaching by Rail

Reaching Sanchi by Rail

The nearest railhead is Bhopal, which is also an important junction of the West Central Railways. It is also the terminus of the Shatabdi Express, which shuttles daily between Delhi and Bhopal. Various express trains ply between Bhopal and cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi and Ujjain. One can reach Bhopal by train and avail a bus / car from there for Sanchi.

Reaching by Road

Reaching Sanchi by Road

Sanchi is at a convenient distance from places like Bhopal (46 km), Vidisha (10 km) and Indore (232 km). Various tour operators provide private taxis and cabs.

Built by an emperor and restored by a British duo

Great Stupa Built by Asoka

Emperor Ashoka and Sir John Marshall

Emperor Ashoka built the great stupa and made the town of Sanchi sacred as well as popular in 3rd century BC. But a British cavalry officer rediscovered and revived the sacredness of the town in 1818.

Buddhist influence over the central Indian landscape had declined by the 12th century and the stupas and other monuments slipped into obscurity. As Buddhism recessed, these architectural marvels were no more considered useful, and eventually, were completely forgotten.

It was in the year 1818 that British officer General Taylor discovered the site of Sanchi. He set about restoring its glory. Between 1912 and 1919, these beautiful ancient structures were restored to their present condition under the able supervision of Sir John Marshall, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Today around 50 monuments remain on the hill of Sanchi, narrating the rise and fall of Buddhist art and architecture.

The Sanchi stupa captures the journey to enlightenment

Sanchi Stupa

Architectural drawing of Sanchi Stupa

The Sanchi Stupa is more than a reliquary preserving the remains of Buddhist teachers and Buddhism. It shows the journey to enlightenment.

Traditionally, stupas do hold relics of Buddha or influential Buddhist monks. But at the same time, these structures also explain how Buddha achieved enlightenment, freeing himself from the cycle of life and death.

The Stupa consists of a base bearing a hemispherical dome (anda), symbolizing the dome of heaven enclosing the earth. It is surmounted by a squared rail unit (harmika) representing the world mountain, from which rises a mast (yashti), symbolizing the cosmic axis. The mast bears umbrellas (chatras) that represent the various heavens (devaloka).