Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh Timings, History, Location

by Surojit Palmal
Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh

Sanchi, a location in Madhya Pradesh is one of the major historic locations and a popular spot for sightseeing as well. What makes the site even more popular and exciting as a tourist spot is the presence of Sanchi Stupa there. The Stupa here is historically and culturally important that makes it a popular site for the visitors and travelers. Furthermore it is a Buddhist monument and one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in India as well. The history attached to the stupa and the magnificent architecture are also a point of attractions for this historic site. Located on top of a hill the stupa is located 46 km away from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. It is a popular site of pilgrimage for the Buddhists and devotees from different parts of the world come and visit this stupa here. The stupa is a prominent location for Sanchi tourism as well.

Sanchi is famous for the many stupas that are located here and the location is also popular as the Land of Stupas. Dating back to the Mauryan Empire, you can get a lot of insight after visiting this spot. For history lovers this site will be one of the most interesting sites that you can visit. Also, people who have an interest in archeology and architecture will find this site extremely interesting. So if you are ever in Madhya Pradesh or in Bhopal then make sure you are definitely planning a trip to this stupa. Keep on reading this article as here I will mention everything that you need to know about the Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh. This will be a helpful article for you if you are planning a trip to this stupa in Madhya Pradesh any time soon.

Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh

Location: Sanchi Town, Raisen District, Madhya Pradesh, India

Timings:  The Sanchi Stupa timings are from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm on all days

Entry fee: Rs. 30 for Indians and SAARC Citizens and Rs. 500 for Foreigners

How to reach

By air

If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport to reach the stupa is the Bhopal airport as Sanchi does not have its own airport. The Bhopal airport is 54.9 km away from the stupa. You can reach the location of the stupa in around 1 hour and 10 minutes. It would be convenient to take a car or hire a cab to reach the stupa from the airport. Shared taxis are available here on this route as well so you can even opt for that.

By train

If you are travelling by train then the nearest railway station is the Sanchi Railway Station. From the railway station the stupa is located at a distance of 1.4 km only. It would only take you about 5 minutes to reach the location from the railway station. You can even travel to the stupa by foot as well. However the nearest major railway station is the Bhopal Junction Railway Station which is connected to major cities and towns nearby. From the railway station the stupa is located at a distance of 48.3 km. It would take you about 1 hour and 5 minutes to reach the location of the stupa from the railway station. You can take a car or hire a cab from the railway station to reach the stupa.

By road

You can travel by road as well and there are buses available to reach the stupa from major cities and towns. From locations like Indore and Bhopal you will get regular buses to reach the location. Both private as well as government buses are available here so you can opt for that. You can also opt for a car or hire a cab as well from different locations to reach the stupa. Shared cabs and taxis are also common modes of transport here as well so you can even opt for that as well to reach the location.

Best time to visit

The ideal time to visit the Sanchi Stupa would be the months from November to March. These are the comparatively cooler months so you would find it more comfortable to explore the whole area during this time. Also if the temperature remains at check it would be convenient to roam around the area and to explore the surroundings of the location as well. The monsoon season is comfortable according to the weather but the rainfall can dampen the travel spirit. But it is a good time to visit here for budget travelers though. Avoid visiting here during the summer months as Bhopal gets extremely humid during summers. The temperature goes beyond 40 degrees so that would make it too uncomfortable for a visit here. So plan your trip to this stupa accordingly to enjoy the best of the location.


Overview of Sanchi Stupa

Overview of Sanchi Stupa
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Located in Madhya Pradesh the Sanchi Stupa is one of the popular locations and a popular Buddhist site of pilgrimage. It is also one of the oldest stone structures that you can find in India. A prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sanchi Stupa is located in on top of a hill. Emperor Ashoka from the Mauryan Empire installed this stupa in the 3rd Century BC. The structures and monuments that you will find here are some of the finest examples of architecture in the country. The architectural marvel has definitely passed the test of time to still remain prominent as a sightseeing spot in Bhopal.

The aim of constructing the stupa was to honour Lord Buddha and therefore the stupa also houses some important Buddhist relics as well. Other than that it is also one of the sacred locations for the burial mound of the remains of Lord Buddha and his disciples. Other than the Sanchi Stupa there is the Ashokan Pillar, Ornate Gateways or Toranas as well as some intricate carvings that are major attractions here. It is one of the most prominent locations for Buddhists, and therefore devotees from all over the world visit there. The Stupa was declared as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989 and is also one of the best conserved ancient stupa in Central India.

What’s more?

The Sanchi Stupa stands as a remarkable example of Buddhist architecture and also ensures the preservation of Buddhist culture. In 2017 the Sanchi Stupa was printed on the Rs. 200 note of Indian currency to depict India’s cultural heritage. There is an Archeological Museum located here at the foothill of the stupa that you need to visit. The museum is open till 5 pm in the evening so visit before that time. Also there is a Light and Sound Show here that starts at 7 pm in the evening so you can enjoy that here too.


Sanchi Stupa History

Originally the construction of Sanchi Stupa goes back to the 3rd Century BCE and it is popular as the Stupa No 1. Mauryan King Ashoka built this grand stupa to honour Lord Budha. One of the facts that make this an important site of pilgrimage for the Buddhists is that the stupa houses the ashes of Lord Buddha. Originally the stupa was a low brick structure. At first, half of the structure of the present day was hemispherical in shape with terraces raised from the base.

However during the 2nd Century BCE the structure was damaged during the rule of Pushyamitra Shunga. Later his son Agnimitra Shunga ordered the rebuilding of this structure in 1st Century BCE. During this time they also built the 2nd and 3rd stupas here as well. Later there was addition of gateways and balustrades during the Satavahana Dynasty and the structure was highly decorated.

Architecture of Sanchi Stupa

Architecture of Sanchi Stupa
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The Sanchi Stupa is one of the finest examples of Buddhist art and architecture. It has a massive height of 127 feet or 37 meters and it is 54 feet or 17 meters wide. The central structure is a hemispherical dome on top of a base. This structure houses a relic chamber deep within. There is further a square railing that surrounds the dome and it represents the world mountain. Then there is a central pillar here that represents the cosmic axis. This pillar supports a triple umbrella structure and the three structures represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism. These are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Against the base there is a high circular base which people can access through a staircase. This is specifically designed for the devotees so that they can walk around the stupa to explore the area more.

There is an enclosed wall called the Vedika that is there around the whole structure. Also there are four cardinal points which puncture the Toranas or the Gateways here. The Toranas and its designs are one of the major attractions of this stupa as well. Each of these gateways has two square posts and they are topped with sculptures of different animals or dwarfs. Relief sculptures cover all these elements and it furthermore depicts the events of Lord Buddha’s life. Along with that there are scenes from the early days of Buddhism along with some auspicious symbols and stories of Jataka as well.

What’s more?

Additionally, you will also find other monuments here that surround the main stupa. These are Stupa 2 and Stupa 3, Temple 18, Gupta Period Temple, Great Bowl, Temple and Monastery 45 etc. Another important monument here is the Chethiyagiri Temple. Also there are other temples like Bhero Baba Mandir and Shiva Temple. The Ashokan Pillar is also located here just next to the Stupa no 1. You will find a shaft and a crown of four lions here that stand back to back.

Outside the complex you will find the Chetiyagiri Vihara or the resting place. This was built to house the relics of disciples of Lord Buddha, Sariputta and Moggallana. On the last Sunday of November the relics are brought out for the public during the Chethiyagiri Vihara Festival. This festival is one of the most significant festivals here and attracts a huge number of Buddhist pilgrims and devotees here.

Wrapping Up!

So that was all about the Sanchi Stupa and now you can plan a visit to this location as soon as you can. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites so when you are in Bhopal you must visit there once. The history attached to the Sanchi Stupa Bhopal also further makes this an exciting location for a visit. You will be able to gain a lot of insight about Buddhism and Buddhist culture after a visit here. So when are you planning a visit to the Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh? And let me know if this article on the Sanchi Stupa is helpful for you in planning a trip to this significant location in Madhya Pradesh.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy