Image credit : Eileen Delhi
“Sanchi Stupa” is a famous ancient Buddhist monument. The Stupa is a wonderful testament to the artistic prowess of Buddhist monks. Emperor Asoka (273-236 B.C.) built stupas in Buddha’s honour at many places in India. The stupas at Sanchi are the most magnificent structures of ancient India. Stupas are large hemispherical domes, containing a central chamber, in which the relics of the Buddha were placed. Significant for its history and archeology, Sanchi is a religious place known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD. Located just 46 kms. from Bhopal, Sanchi is a small town of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
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The carvings here are done with the precision of Jewelers. Despite the damage and restoration work done Sanchi is the most evocative and attractive Buddhist site in India. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the gorgeous gateways add grace to the place. These gateways are beautifully carved and carry scenes from the life of Buddha or Ashoka. The images carved on the pillars and the stupas tell moving story of the incidents form the life of Buddha.
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Even after the reformation and restoration, Sanchi continues to evoke and attract people from all over. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the magnificent entrance ways add beauty to the place. The finest specimens of early classical art, the gateways are delicately carved and bears images from the life of Lord Buddha or King Ashoka. The images carved on the pillars and the Stupas tell motivating stories from the life of Buddha.
Image credit : Gautam
Image credit : Sunny
Some places, must see it, are : The Four Gate Ways, The Ashoka Pillar, Stupas, The Museum.
The Four Gate Ways :
The Four gateways constructed in 35 BC are the best from of Buddhist expression one can find any where in the world. Gateways or Torans as they are called are covered with explicit carving which depict scenes from the life Buddha and Jatakas, the stories relating to Buddha and his earlier births.
The Ashoka Pillar :
The Ashoka pillars is one many pillars which are scattered in the area some of these are in broken and some in shape. The crown is the famous four lions which stand back to back. This figure was adopted as the national Emblem of India. The Ashoka pillars are an excellent example of he Greco-Buddhist style and is known for the aesthetic proportions and the exquisite structural balance.
Sanchi has been famous for the Stupas which were built on the top of a hill. The purpose of these stupas was mostly religious. The most likely use of the stupas has been said to keep the relics. Some of these stupas have been found containing relics of disciples of Buddha. The designs and the carvings on the walls and gates of these stupas spell a heavenly grace and are very tastefully done.
The Museum :
The archaeological survey of India maintains a museum which house many items which were discovered during the excavation of Sanchi area. Most prized possession of the museum is the lion crown from Ashoka pillar. The museum has a sizable collection of utensils and other items used by the monks who lived here.