Come Home to sheer Peace & deep Buddhist Philosophy
Updated: Aug 1
Welcome to Sanchi , a UNESCO World Heritage Site , located in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh (about 46 Km from Bhopal), a unique Buddhist site where one can see together stupas, gateways, monasteries, temples and pillars.
Brief description about Sanchi
· Sanchi has witnessed rise and fall of Buddhist art & architecture over a period of 1300 years from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. Despite the fact that no event in the Buddha’s life is associated with Sanchi.
· The Great Stupa (known as Stupa 1, the oldest stone structure of India, was originally built by Emperor Ashoka of Mauryan dynasty.
· Stupa 2 and Stupa 3 are also very impressive.
· The exquisitely –carved gateways (Torans) are attributed to the Satavahanas. Gateways are finest specimen of early classical art. Each gateway consists of two square pillars crowned by a set of lions, elephants or pot-bellied dwarfs (Yakshs) supporting a superstructure of three curviform architraves with spirally –rolled ends. These gateways are located on East, West, North and South sides of Stupa 1.
· The Northern gateway is very elaborative. A number of elephant and horse-riders, peacock, lion, lotus, graceful bracket-figures of Salabhanjikas (tree nymph) and other figures/sculptures are displayed. It is also crowned by a wheel of law.
· The Eastern gateway depicts the seven incarnations of the Buddha i.e. Manushi Buddha.
· The Southern gateway display about birth of the Buddha and lion capital.
· The Western gateway shows transport of the relics.
· The gateways panels display bas-reliefs of scenes and decorations. The subject matter of carvings of gateways are : scenes from Buddha’s life , scenes from Jatakas, events in the subsequent history of Buddhism, scenes relating to Manushi-Buddha, floral motifs and miscellaneous scenes and decorations. The basic theme is - symbolizing the trinity of Buddhism – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
· The Buddha art is portrayed in symbols :
the Lotus ---- representing his built ,
the Tree ---- representing his enlightment (Sambodhi) ,
the Wheel --- representing His 1st Sermon ,
the Footprints & Throne ---- symbolizing His presence.
· Temple 17 is a remarkable piece of Gupta architecture. It consists of a flat-roofed square sanctum with a portico supported on four pillars.
· Monolithic free-standing pillars with a highly-polished surface , bell-mouth capitals are distinctive features.
· The ruins of Monasteries (Viharas) show their glorious past.
Other historical attraction in the vicinity
· Heliodorous’ Pillar –The stone pillar was erected at Vidisha (12 Km away from Sanchi), by Heliodorous , ambassador of Greek king of Takshila in 2nd century BC . As per Brahmi inscription on the pillar, it is dedicated to the God Vasudeva (Vishnu). Local people worship it as ‘Khamba Baba’.
Modern Stupas in India
The earlier stupas at Sanchi have inspired construction of replicas at seven locations in India – Rajgir & Vaishali (in Bihar), Dhauligiri (in Odisha), Darjeeling (in West Bengal), Ladakh , Wardha (in Maharastra) and Delhi. Photographs of modern stupas constructed at Rajgir, Dhauligiri & Darjeeling are displayed below for visual delight.
In fact Sanchi Stupas and Gateways are masterpieces of Buddhist art & architecture spanning nearly 1300 years. It is a true treasure of eternal peace and tranquility.