Visit Sanchi Stupa: History, Discovery, Must-See Places in Sanchi Stupa, Entry Fee and Timings, Hotel to Stay Nearby (2021)
Buddhism has always been an integral part of India, and to understand its root, visiting Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh is extremely important. Sanchi Stupa near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important Buddhist monuments in the world as it has been listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1989. The most exciting part about this monument is that it looks exactly the same; it looked all those years ago. As the government of Madhya Pradesh makes it a point to do proper maintenance of the Sanchi Stupa, it is still pretty intact and well-preserved.
One of the most exciting things about Sanchi Stupa monument is that it is part of a complex containing an array of temples and Stupa in Madhya Pradesh. You might know about the primary history behind the Stupa that it was built under the Mauryan Reign, but the in-depth account of the monument is quite impressive. If you read this entire travel guide, you will know about the history of this Stupa in the later part of this blog.
Many people from all over the world visit Sanchi Stupa to get enlightened about Buddhism and medieval India. If you visit Sanchi Stupa, it will be one of the most memorable experience of your life. The entire area surrounding the monument is so enchanting. If you are planning a trip to Sanchi Stupa then reading this travel guide can help. For your convenience, try to bookmark this webpage while planning your itinerary.
The Enchanting History Of Sanchi Stupa
Before visiting Sanchi Stupa, you must know the history behind this mesmerizingly beautiful monument. Even though this structure’s history is quite massive, we have tried to surmise the crucial points compactly. If you read this portion of this blog, you will learn a lot about the monument. As you know, the Sanchi Stupa was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. by the Mauryan Dynasty. To be precise, the generous ruler Ashoka, built this monument to preach Buddhism’s teachings in India.
You might already know that Ashoka was one of the most powerful rulers of the said time. In his former part of his life, he was quite notorious for his cruelty, but in the latter part of his life, he shifted his lifestyle in the opposite direction. That is why it might be quite astonishing to some people why a Hindu kingdom ruler built a Buddhist monument of this scale? Though the Sanchi Stupa might seem like an unlikely construction, if you consider the Mauryan kingdom’s beliefs, it has a simple answer. To know that, let us go back to 265 B.C.
We have mentioned earlier that Ashoka changed himself entirely at some point in his life. The year 265 B.C. was the year when everything for Ashoka changed. Even though he won the war of Kalinga in that year, but he was scarred by the wrath he caused to thousands of people due to the incident. He became so conscious about his impact on other people’s lives that he decided to be Buddhist by getting inspired by the monk Upa Gupta.
After the Kalinga war, Ashoka became a benevolent person and devoted the rest of his life to preaching Buddhism’s teachings. Throughout the world, he and his followers created more than 84,000 stupas to commemorate the teachings of Lord Buddha. Even though Sanchi Stupa is one of the 84000 stupas created by Ashoka, but it is way more important than the rest of the stupas as it is proven to be the first monument built by ruler Ashoka. Sanchi Stupa is located on a hilltop of Vidisha. According to common belief, Ashoka chose this location as home to his first wife, Devi. Some people even believe another essential ruler of the Magadha reign, Bimbisara built monasteries in Vidisha, which is why Ashoka built Sanchi Stupa over there.
Even though the construction of Sanchi Stupa might seem quite beautiful right now, it was not like that when it was first constructed. Pushyamitra Sungha destroyed the Stupa in 185 B.C. Later his son, Agnimitra Sungha, re-constructed the monument and made it even more beautiful. The four gorgeous gateways were built in the 1st century B.C. by the rulers of the Satvahana Dynasty. You will be quite surprised to know that the monument changed in the 5th century B.C. during the reign of the Gupta Dynasty.
Discovery of Sanchi Stupa in Modern Times
Until the 12th century A.D., Sanchi Stupa was an essential part of India, but soon Buddhism faced declination, and the importance of the monument started diminishing. At some point after 12th century A.D., the memorial was entirely abandoned, and thick woods grew surrounding it. The monument’s unique thing is that, due to the overgrown coverage of forests, the monument was protected from the wrath and destruction of Mughal reign.
It was not until 1818 that the Sanchi Stupa was discovered by Henry Taylor, a general in the British army. But the restoration work of the monument did not start before 1881. Sir John Marshal, the Director-General of Archaeological Survey of India at that time, restored the monument. It is quite amusing to know that a memorial of this stature was abandoned for so many centuries.
The Magnificent Torans And Other Monuments Of Sanchi Stupa
Toranas are an essential part of Sanchi Stupa. When you see the Toranas for the first time, you will be quite surprised to see the precision by which the carvings are made on them. You will get to know the story of Lord Buddha and his life in Kushinagar in the Toranas quite vividly.
You will also get to witness the journey of Lord Buddha from Kapilavastu to Bodhgaya in great detail. Sanchi Stupa was constructed to let people know about the life of Lord Buddha, and these Toranas were similar to a canvas where talented artisans carved pictures. It is quite amusing to imagine that the artisans carved the said scenery onto the Toranas without the help of modern technology about 2300 years ago.
Apart from the Sanchi Stupa, the entire complex has different smaller stupas. You will get to see Stupa 3 quite close to the main monument, and the second Stupa lies a few hundred feet behind it. The “great bowl” is also located behind the first monument. Some evidence of Hindu temples and Buddhist monastery is present quite close to Sanchi Stupa.
The Best Ways to Reach Sanchi Stupa
Before providing you the modes of transportation in this blog, we should let you know that Sanchi Stupa is located 46 km away from Bhopal. You will be able to reach there from Bhopal quite easily by hiring a cab. Moreover, while traveling to Sanchi Stupa from Bhopal, you will see the Tropic of Cancer. Remember to ask your driver to stop at that point. You can also visit there by taking a public bus from Bhopal quite quickly.
By Rail: You can visit Bhopal from any major city of India quite quickly as the railway station in Bhopal is connected to almost every part of India. Or else, you can opt for the railway station located in Sanchi. Even though not many trains pass through the tiny station, but there are some trains which arrive there in the morning and afternoon.
By Flight: Bhopal has its domestic airport, which is located at a forty-five-minutes-drive from Sanchi Stupa. You will get flights to Bhopal from major Indian cities.
Entry Timings and Ticket Fee of Sanchi Stupa
The most important thing to notice while planning a trip to Sanchi Stupa is its entry timing and entry fee.
Entry timings: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm (Monday to Sunday).
Ticket fee: INR 10 (Indian tourists)
INR 250 (for foreign tourist)
Must-see Places in Sanchi Stupa
As we have mentioned earlier, the Sanchi Stupa is surrounded by different vital monuments located in the complex. Some of the sites are quite crucial for you to visit. We have included the top three locations in the following part of this blog.
Ashok Pillar is one of the essential parts of Sanchi Stupa, and it was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. along with the main Stupa. Greco Buddhist designs influenced the architectural design of the pillar. Many people mistake this pillar with the Sarnath Pillar in Gujarat as they look quite similar.
The Eastern Gateway
We have mentioned four gateways in the complex of the Sanchi Stupa, which were built in 35 B.C. Among them, the eastern portal is the most important and extremely beautiful. In the gateway, you will be able to see carvings that will show you the Lord Buddha’s journey. You will witness the life of Lord Buddha from his birth to his enlightenment quite vividly in the carvings of the gateway. You will be quite surprised to see that the sculptures of the pictures are entirely intact after so many years.
The best way to know the in-depth history of Sanchi Stupa is by visiting the Sanchi Museum, founded by Sir John Marshal in 1919. The museum is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is filled with artifacts from ancient India. You must keep some time in your hand to explore the museum as it is spread over an area of more than 6.3 acres. The entire property is divided into three galleries. You will get to see items from over 1000 years ago in the museum.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (Saturday to Thursday).
Ticket fees: INR 30.
Top Places To Stay Near Sanchi Stupa
The following hotels and resorts are some of the best properties in Bhopal. They are located at an hour’s drive from the monument.
Amer Palace Resort
Even though Amer Palace Resort is luxurious and comes with rooms featuring modern amenities, it charges a reasonable rate from its guests. The hospitality provided by the staff of the hotel is also incredibly generous. As the hotel is located in the central city center of Bhopal, you will be able to explore it easily.
The hotel comes with a gym, lounge, restaurant, and banquet halls. You will have a great stay if you choose this resort in Bhopal.
Address: Ram Gopal Maheshwari Marg, Near Hotel Nisarga, Zone-I, Maharana Pratap Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462011.
Website: Not available.
Phone Number: 0755 427 2110.
Price of a room per night: INR 4000.
Jay Kay Resort
Jay Kay resort is a pretty reasonable hotel located far away from the hustle and bustle of Bhopal. You will find the location surrounding the resort quite peaceful and clean. All the rooms of the hotel are quite well-equipped with modern amenities. As the hotel has a massive garden surrounding it, you will be able to take a stroll and relax for as long as you want.
The location of the resort is quite beautiful, and you will not have any problem in renting cabs from there to visit Sanchi Stupa.
Address: Adampur, Bilkhiriya Kalan, Raisen Rd, Near, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462023.
Website: Not available.
Phone Number: 098933 34353.
Price of a room per night: INR 3000.
The Residency Resort
The Residency Resort is located quite close to Shaurya Samara Park in Bhopal and has a peaceful surrounding. All the establishment’s rooms are quite luxurious and allow you to spend a few days in comfort and luxury. As the property comes with an in-house restaurant, you will be able to enjoy a wide range of international cuisines if you stay there.
Even though the hotel has a lot of different amenities, you will find it to be quite affordable.
Address: MP Nagar Zone-I, Zone-I, Maharana Pratap Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462024
Phone Number: 0755 255 6001.
Price of a room per night: INR 3000.
We have tried to include every possible important information regarding Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh. If you follow this blog, we hope you will get answers to all of your queries.