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Sanchi Stupas

SANCHI FAST FACTS
Open for visitors Sunrise to Sunset
Entrance Fee Per Visitor (Indian & SAARC Nationals) 10 INR. (Child upto 15 years free)
Entrance Fee Per Visitor (Non-Indian & Non-SAARC Nationals) 250 INR. or 5 USD.(Child upto 15 years free)
Best time to visit November to April
Nearest Airport, railway station At Bhopal

INTRODUCTION
Sanchi Tourism Sanchi is a Buddhist pilgrimage site, 55 kms north-east of Bhopal city. It is a excavated site which was rediscovered by British India officer General Taylor in 1818 but actual restoration work was initiated from 1912 to 1919 under the supervision of Sir John Marshall. Till year 1881, many amateur archaeologists and treasure hunters ravaged the site. It has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage site in year 1989. Sanchi is unique in having the most prefect and well preserved stupas anywhere in India. It is counted among must visit tourist attractions of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. These monuments record the genesis, efflorescence and decay of Buddhist art and architecture over a period of 1300 years, from the 3rd BC to 12th century AD. It is covering almost whole range of Buddhism. Sanchi stupas are mainly built during Mauryan dynasty rule. Here, "Great Stupa" of Sanchi is considered as the oldest stone structure in India. It was originally commissioned by Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great in 3rd century BCE. This stupa is built over the relics of Buddha. Here all the visible structure are not built in single run but in different phases. Excavation work in this site is still incomplete so we exactly cannot say about the time when last building work carried out at this site but as per current findings, construction work was carried out till 12th century. Here excavation work was carried out after 1818 and recent excavation work was done in year 1993-94. Their is still scope for some more work. At present tourists can visit the site from sunrise to sunset by paying entrance fee. Guide service is available for tourists.

SANCHI HISTORY
SANCHI TIMELINE
Rules Time
Mauryan Dynasty-Ashoka 273 - 236 BC
Sunga Period 2-1 BCE
Satavahana Period 230 BCE - 220 CE
Kushan Rule 30-375 AD
Kshatrapa Rule 400 AD - 550 AD
Gupta Period 320 - 550 AD
Huna Dynasty 520 - 528 AD
Harshavardhana Rule 606 AD - 647 AD
Other rules 647 - 1818 AD
General Taylor 1818
Sir John Marshall 1912-1919 AD
UNESCO Site 1989 AD
The only early reference to Sanchi comes in chronicles of Sri Lanka, Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa. These records suggests that Ashoka (273-236 BC), married to Devi which was the daughter of a Vidisha based merchant. It was the time when he was not the great Mauryan emperor and was in-charge of Ujjayani (modern Ujjain). In Sanchi history, during ancient times, Sanchi was known by various names like Kakanava, Kakanaya, Kakanadabota and Bota-Sriparvata. It was distinctively know for remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture since early Mauryan period. Here major work of construction work was carried out between 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. It was Ashoka who laid the foundation of great religious establishment at Sanchi. He erected the Great Stupa (Stupa 1) of Sanchi after redistribution of Lord Buddha's mortal remains for erecting several stupas, all over the India to spread Buddhism. Ashoka chosen this spot due to many reasons like his wife Devi is from nearby town Vidisha, it was a hill-top location ensuring good visibility, confluence of Betwa and Bes rivers, lies on two important trade routes and seclusion of location is ideal for meditation practices. In addition to stupa, he also laid the monolithic Ashokan pillar. During his time, construction was done with simplicity but using bricks and stupa was comparatively 50% smaller than its current look. After Ashoka's time, in 2nd century BC Shung dynasty came into rule. They elaborated the construction work by making several edifices, enlargement of Ashokan Stupa, erection of balustrades, berm, stairway, harmika, building of Stupa 2 & 3, reconstruction of Temple 40. After Shung dynasty rule, Sanchi came into influence of South Indian Satavahanas rulers. They gifted elaborately carved Stupa 1 gateways showing austere grandeur and exquisite carvings on doorways. Subject of such carving is to depict significant episodes (Jatak Stories) and miracles of Buddha's lifetime. Stupa 2 and 3 also seems to be erected during the same time. From 2nd to 4th century AD, Sanchi came under rule of Kushanas and Kshatrapas. During this time, structural activities remains suppressed and no major activity has been recorded. After Kshatrapas, Gupta period came in 400 AD to 550 AD. During this time activities again revived. Mathura sandstone images are probably from this time. Four Buddha's images, seated under canopies against the berm of Stupa 1 facing the 4 entrances are from same Gupta period. After fall of Gupta dynasty, no major power emerge in next 60 years due to which Central India remain under political instability. Later Harshavardhana (590 AD - 647 AD) came into power (606-647 AD) and gave some stability to region. During his time, some more construction work carried out. Temple 45 was the last Buddhist temple build during 10-11th century. Till end of 12th century, Sanchi keep on developing and later with more Muslim invasions and fall of Buddhism in India, downfall of Sanchi started. Since 14th century Sanchi remained deserted and uncared till 1818 when General Taylor rediscovered it again but then treasure hunters gave damage to monuments. It was Sir John Marshall who started the planned excavation work and established archaeological museum to properly showcase the findings in period of 1912 to 1919 AD.

SANCHI GREAT STUPA
The Great Stupa of Sanchi is referred for Stupa-1. It is most prominent structure in Sanchi. Great Stupa of Sanchi is hemispherical dome type structure whose crown has been truncated. It is set at the center of a heavy masonry pedestal within a square railing. Their are 4 exquisitely carved (scenes from Jataka tales and Buddha's life) gateways for stupa. The diameter of Sanchi Great stupa is 36.60 meters and height is 16.46 meters. The present stupa encases an earlier stupa which was half of current stupa. Previous stupa was built of burnt bricks and mud mortar. It is attributed to Emperor Ashoka. It recovered umbrella was made of Chunar sandstone bearing typical Mauryan polish. The earlier stupa suffered heavy damage before the middle of the 2nd century BC, due to which it was completely re-constructed with many new additions. Some of the new additions were terrace with double flight of steps, stone encasing, ground stairways, berm, a paved processional path, umbrella with railing, harmika balustrades etc. For these construction, sand stone was arranged from neighboring hill of Nagauri. Devotees from many countries sponsored the construction of pavements and balustrades in which their names has been inscribed. As already described, 4 gateways are their which are elaborately carved, were erected during rule of Satavahana reign in 1st century BC. Each gateway comprises 2 square pillars crowned by a set of 4 lions, elephants or pot-bellied dwarfs. Height of these gateways is 8.53 meters in which crowning elements is not counted. The last addition to the stupa took place after 5 centuries, before 450 AD during Gupta dynasty rule. Here 4 images of Buddha in dhyana-mudra, each seated under a pillared canopy, were installed.

SANCHI MUSEUM
ASI MUSEUM VISIT
Timing 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Every Friday
Entry Type Paid (free upto 12 years age)
While coming down from magnificent Sanchi stupas, we will find a single floored white building with a compound of lush green lawns and shady trees. This is Sanchi Museum which is formally known as "Archaeological Survey of India's site museum". Sanchi museum contains some priceless treasures from India's glorious past. Museum was actually established by Sir John Marshall in 1919, when he was Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Present building was acquired in year 1966 AD to provide adequate space to display findings. Sanchi museum have 4 galleries and one large central hall. Here variety of sculptural artefacts have been showcased for public view. These articles are from Sanchi and its nearby Buddhist and Hindu sites like Vidisha, Gyraspur, Murelkhurd etc. More..

TOURISM
Sanchi tourism has important place in Madhya Pradesh Tourism. Many tourists, especially from Buddhist followers, visits Sanchi and its nearby places. Similarly, after visiting Ajanta Ellora caves, tourists wishes to visit Sanchi stupas. It is important part of Buddhist tour packages in India. It is one out of three UNESCO sites in Madhya Pradesh due to which it is counted among must visit sites in Central India. It is close to Bhopal city which is state capital city and have best airport and railway connectivity which makes it easy to reach Sanchi. Similarly good accommodation facility is also available in Sanchi and Bhopal city to offers great experience during Sanchi tour.

CLIMATE
Sanchi has a subtropical climate. Like most of north India it has a hot dry summer(April-June) followed by monsoon rains (July-September) and a cool and relatively dry winter. The average rainfall is about 1,370 mm (53.9 in). It decreases from east to west. The south-eastern districts have the heaviest rainfall, some places receiving as much as 2,150 mm (84.6 in), while the western and north-western districts receive 1,000 mm (39.4 in) or less.

HOW TO REACH
By Air:
Nearest airport for reaching Sanchi stupas is at Bhopal city, known as Raja Bhoj airport (IATA Code:BHO). Sanchi lies in 55 kms north-east of Bhopal airport. It is well connected with other airports like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Delhi. For further journey from Bhopal airport to Sanchi, we offer Bhopal Airport Taxi service by which you can travel to Sanchi stupas and many other places.

DISTANCE CHART
LOCATION MAP
From
Distance
(in Kms)
Bhopal 55
Udaigiri Gyraspur 15
Bhimbetka 90
Indore 250
Khajuraho 420
Mandu 340


By Train:
For reaching Sanchi by train, nearest railway station is Bhopal. All important cities and tourist destinations are linked with direct trains to Bhopal like: Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Jhansi, Gwalior etc. Bhopal city have two railway stations i.e. Bhopal Junction and Habibganj. Both are important railway stations and are equipped with all modern facilities. From Bhopal railway station to Sanchi, we offer tourist taxi service, as per requirement.

By Road:
Sanchi is well connected by road. It lies on Bhopal - Sagar state highway. It is well connected by road from Bhopal, Raisen, Sagar, Vidisha etc. Route to Sanchi stupas site remain accessible throughout the year in all seasons. Sanchi site lies on 55kms north-east of Bhopal city.

CLIMATE & WEATHER
Above table displays currently prevailing climatic conditions at Sanchi and Bhopal city. It also shows the expected weather in next few days. It is just to have a idea of prevailing conditions so that accordingly tourists draw their tour plan and make arrangements.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Being a important tourism region, Madhya Pradesh state is visited by tourist through out the year. Broadly we can divide Madhya Pradesh tourism in 3 parts. Heritage tourism is active in Northern part of state which is more rocky and destinations comes under this region are Gwalior, Shivpuri, Orchha, Khajuraho, Panna, Chanderi, Datia etc. All these destination offers major palaces, forts, temples, cenotaphs of state. Best time to visit this region is from October to April as during this time climate remain pleasant and good.

Southern part, south-west region and some of the Northern region of Madhya Pradesh are rich in Wildlife which includes Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Hard-ground Barasingha, Indian Gaur, Wild Dog (Dholes) and atleast more than 250 bird species.

ACCOMMODATION
Sanchi is a small town so here accommodation facilities are very limited. Here main hotel is of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department i.e. "Gateway Retreat". It is a standard category hotel in Sanchi. Most of the tourists, prefers to stay at Bhopal hotels at their variety of hotels options are available in all budget category.

NEXT TO MADHYA PRADESH
Next to Sanchi, you can visit to Chanderi, Khajuraho, Pachmarhi, Indore, Ujjain, Mandu, Maheshwar etc.
RELATED LINKS
Bhopal Tourism Bhopal Car Rental Indore Tourism
Chanderi Tourism Khajuraho Tourism Bhimbetka Tourism


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