Sanchi Stupa


The historical monument Sanchi Stupa is located in the small village of Sanchi in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh in India. This is situated at a distance of 46 kilometers from Bhopal near Besnagar and Vidhisha. The Sanchi Stupa is one of the ancient stone structures and was built by the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century B.C. This is a hemispherical structure crowned by the Chatra with the relics of Buddha beneath it. It has four ornamental gateways and consists of complex structures. It was once a burial mound now standing as a symbol of heritage of India.


Sanchi Stupa is a good example of Buddhist art and architecture that was built before 1500 ears. However the structure did not focus on any of the event in the life of Buddha. The Buddhist monks had the habit going begging half of the day and so they needed a monastery to stay. The great Emperor Ashoka built this to give a new zeal for Buddhism. Ashoka was fond of Buddhism and he dispatched missionaries to many parts of the world like Ceylon, Syria, Macedonia and Egypt. In his attempt to propagate Buddhism and its ideals he built the Sanchi Stupa as a monolithic pillar. There are totally eight stupas on the top of the hill of Sanchi and the notable one among them being the Great Stupa.


Ashoka built the Great Stupa called the Stupa 1 to spread the ideals of Buddhism and this was a low structure of brick hemispherical in shape. It has a stone umbrella at the top and was enclosed by a wooden railing. When Satavahanas ruled over Andhra in the first century B. C. gateways were made to the Stupa 1. The carvings on the doorway symbolize the Jataka stories of Buddha. The Stupas 2 and 3 were also built during this time.


Sanchi and its neighboring places were ruled over by the Kushanas and Kshatrapas in the fourth century AD and then this went into the hands of the Gupta rulers. During this time, the statues of Lord Buddha facing the four entrances of the Sanchi Stupa were added. In the time period between 7th century to 12th century A.D. shrines and monasteries were built. This site was left uncared for until in 1818 General Taylor rediscovered it. An archaeological museum was established by Sir John Marshall in 1919.


The eastern gateway of the stupa depicts the younger period of Gautama and the western gateway depicts his seven incarnations. The northern gateway has the wheel of law reflecting the miracles in the life of Buddha and the southern gateway has rich carvings. The second stupa stands at the edge of the hill with the stone balustrade. The third stupa is close to the great stupe with a hemispherical dome. The relics of the disciples of Buddha, Sariputta and Mahamogallena are found inside it. There is the great bowl carved out of one stone used to distribute food among the Buddhist monks.


There was a reconstruction of the Great Stupa in 2nd century BCE and during this time, a terrace with steps, balustrades, paved processional path and umbrella shape were built. Anyone can visit the place from sunrise to sunset and the entrance fee is Rs.10 for the people of India and its neighboring countries and $5 for others. No fee for children under 15.

Article Posted By : SumazlalView All Articles

Suhaina Mazhar is a freelance content writer and blogger with five years experience in content writing. is her blog.

Article Source :

Keywords :
Sanchi Stupa , great stupa , ashoka stupa


Submit an Article

Related Articles


Mysore, which is in the state of Karnataka, can be found at foothills of Chamundi. It is very wel..