Each torana can be identified by the supporting figures to the horizontal panels on the columns. But historians think it also had to do with a woman. Open on all days of the week 6.30am to 6.30pm. Interestingly, Buddha is always shown in these carvings as a symbol and not as a human. Sanchi Stupa Information. The sculpture of Buddha in dhyana-mudra at the eastern side of the stupa, added to the site in the 5th century AD by the Guptas. Looks like an interesting spot to visit. The architecture is really interesting, too. The Great Stupa at Sanchi has been the focal point of the Buddhist faith in the region since it was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Laughing Buddha too has its origin here. Many World Heritage sites are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. How fascinating it must be to visit the oldest Buddhist UNESCO site in India. Bhopal is the nearest airport. The emperor Ashoka ordered it to be built,in the 3rd century BCE. Four Torana were added to Stupa 1. Great Emperor Ashoka built this stupa in Sanchi as long back as in 3rd BC. Sanchi Stupa (also known as the Great Stupa or Stupa Number 1) is not only one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in India, it's also the oldest stone structure in the country. But many additions and expansions are done in different periods. India’s national emblem of 4 lions is taken from one of these. Various important episodes in life of Buddha right from when he was a prince, then his renunciation of worldly ties, encounter with demon Mara, his enlightenment, teaching his disciples and his death are carved in these panels. He redivided the 7 portions of the cremated remains into 84,000 portions and distributed them all around the different kingdoms. At ground level, there is another procession path that is surrounded by stone balustrades. The different stupas are so intricate, you can almost feel the history pouring from them. I am particularly fascinated by the fact it was built by Samrat Ashoka after he had seen the horrors of war, and felt a need to repent for the massacre he and his army inflicted during the Kalinga war. Buddhist scriptures mention that after Lord Buddha passed away his cremated remains were divided into 8 portions. This is the most damaged one among the 4 torana. Sanchi was called Kakanadabota then. It also shows scenes from the siege of Kushinagar for the remains of Buddha. Buddhists consider this place holy as it is believed to be the living presence of Lord Buddha, a depository of his protective powers and living energy. Total height of torana is 10.36m and width is 3m. Thank you for sharing this article, I learned a lot from reading it , Your email address will not be published. The stupa was enlarged using local sandstone during the Sunga period, which began about 50 years after Ashoka’s death. In the golden era of Gupta dynasty (319 -543AD) temples were built around this stupa. I would love to visit someday. Required fields are marked *. So great that it was restored with such care. Several centuries have gone by yet even today the grand structure still inspires awe! The detail on the gateways is amazing. Through each of the gateway entrances is an image of Buddha in human form seated under a pillared canopy. We made a road trip from Bhopal to Sanchi and then to Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. After the emperor accepted Buddhism, he built the first stupa at Sanchi followed by several more in the later years. Buddhist sources claim that during the 3rd century BCE, the Maury… The brick layers of the stupa is clearly visible. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the most important Buddhist monuments reflecting gem of Buddhist art and architecture. I appreciate your details on history and also how to best see the many aspects and details. A view of the rear of the northern gateway from the high terrace that encircles the stupa and is accessible by stairs from the ground level. The Sanchi complex is famous for the Mahastupa (Great Stupa), the Ashokan pillar (with its inscriptions) and its signature ornate torans (gateways). History of Sanchi Stupa. Let me take you on virtual tour of Sanchi Stupa as I walk and relearn my forgotten history lessons from the archaeologist KK Muhammed, our guide on Times Passion Trail. in the village of Sanchi located on an important trade route in the state of Madya Pradesh, India (photo: Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC: BY 2.0) Toranas were built after 70BC. At some places, in some parts the mortar and limestone layer too can be seen. Located at Sanchi Town, Madhya Pradesh, India, this Stupa is the oldest stone structure in India that was built during the Mauryan period. Elaborately-carved gateways were added much later, in the 1st BC. I am always feel fascinated about many of India’s monuments and these are the remains of thousands of years of civilization. What a great history lesson you’ve written here! The high circular terrace against the base is accessible by staircases and is designed for worshippers to be able to walk around the stupa. The Great Stupa of Sanchi underwent a complete reconstruction after wanton damage inflicted upon it in the middle of the second century BCE. And what a site it is, the architecture, the history and the significance is wonderful. By now effigies of the Buddha were perm… Sanchi Stupa is one of the oldest structures built in stone during the Mauryan dynasty. The ones at Sanchi are profusely carved, almost like a canvas narrating stories. What an incredible sight to visit. It certainly is a uniquely shaped monument with its spherical shape. Many sculptures are missing. Emperor Ashoka built the Great Stupa at Sanchi in the 3 rd century BC on a hill about 10 kilometres from the city of Vidisha. – © Michael Turtle. At the top you will find umbrella like structure on a square base called the, The 3 layers of the umbrella represent the, Higher circular terrace against the base, accessible by staircase, is for worshipers to walk around the stupa. The Great Stupa at Sanchi has been the focal point of the Buddhist faith in the region since it was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Sanchi Stupa – Plan . Its nucleus was a hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha, with a raised terrace encompassing its base, and a railing and stone umbrella on the summit, the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolizing high rank. Sanchi Stupa. The Sanchi stupa has so intricate carvings and it is printed in indian currency notes too,so I cant wait to visit here.I loved knowing about history behind sanchi stupa and its so interesting to know about remains of Buddha is preserved here so well.I am huge buddist literature follower and So I want to visit all the buddhist sites.I have had read about it but the stories behind it ,I never knew it. The initial structure was made of bricks and mud mortar and was just half its present size, at 54ft. Now I have another UNESCO place on my list. The statue of the four lions that adorned this pillar is now in a museum. Great Stupa, most noteworthy of the structures of the historic site of Sanchi, India, and one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in the country. Sanchi is UNESCO World heritage site located 48.5km north-east of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Between each of the panels there are ornamental balusters. The original Stupa only had about half the diameter of today's stupa, which is the result of enlargement by the Sungas Built originally as an earthen stupa by the Emperor Ashoka, it was rebuilt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Why Sanchi stupa was built The Great Stupa in Sanchi, India, is said to be the earliest known stupa, commissioned in the third century BCE. Tour of Sanchi Stupa complex needs a dedicated 3 hours at least. An archaeological Museum was established in 1919 by Sir John Marshall. The expansion of the Stupa extended till the … Though Sanchi is considered one of the most holy (and popular) sites of Buddhist pilgrimage – in the league of Bodh Gaya and Sarnath – the Great Stupa is not linked to the Buddha himself. These columns support 3 separate horizontal panels which again has innumerable characters from various stories carved on them. The entire structure looks magnificent, and that is an understatement! Google apps. In 3rd BC Ashoka traumatised over the horrendous killings that he and his army committed during the Kalinga War took refuge in the teachings of Buddha. On last count, I've traveled to over 22 countries and visited about 250 cities across the globe. To get to stupa 2 take the route from the northern gateway. This site may not function properly in your current browser. It is located around 50 kilometres from capital city Bhopa towards Vidisha. The gateways at the four cardinal points are the highlights of the structure, with a series of detailed carvings showing Buddhist symbols and important historical and religious scenes. Sanchi is world famous for the many Stupas, pillars and monasteries that make it a historically important place. It takes 1hr 11min by road, estimate by Google Maps. These were further scattered across 84,000 … He also initiated the restoration work of Sanchi Stupa. The site of Sanchi was rediscovered in the year 1818 by General Taylor. They consist of square posts with… The site of Sanchi was discovered in the year 1818 by General Taylor and an archaeological museum was established in … The Sanchi Stupa. Instead, it represents the legacy of his greatest ambassador, Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (c. 269 – c. 232 BCE). The history of Sanchi. The famous Sanchi Stupa, situated in Madhya Pradesh in India, is a memorial that is built in the city called Sanchi.It is situated at around 46 kilometres, or 26 miles towards the north-east of Bhopal, which is the capital of Madhya Pradesh.It is a Buddhist Complex and is situated on a hilltop. Pilgrims from different countries come here to worship and pay their respects; this is recorded on one of the panels of a torana there. When Ashoka built the Great Stupa, he had at the nucleus a huge hemispherical brick dome covering the relics of Lord Buddha, with an elevated terrace surrounding the base, a balustrade, and a chatra or stone umbrella on the top to indicate high rank. Archaeologist KK Muhammed describing the panels of Sanchi Stupa. See a different Torana design here: Lodurva Jain Temple in Jaisalmer, Horizontal panels on torana of Sanchi Stupa. It’s believed it had raised terraces at the base, was enclosed by a wooden railing, and was crowned by a stone umbrella. All the 3 panels are supported on the columns by figures like group of 4 elephants, lions and dwarfs. The reconstruction consisted of a stone casing, a terrace with a double flight of steps, balustrades, a paved processional path and an umbrella and railing -- all built of sandstone. The Sanchi Stupa is one of the greatest landmarks and a gem to the Buddhist sanctuary, reflecting Buddhist art and architecture and is built by the stones in the Mauryan Period and flourished till the 11th century. It is located in Sanchi which is 46 kilo-meters north-east of Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The Sanchi Stupa built during the Mauryan period was made of bricks. Learn more about the history and significance of the Great Stupa. Only few worn out yet exemplary sculptures adorn the temple facade. The Mahastupa was built by King Ashoka (304-232 BCE) in the 3rd century BCE to house the relics of Gautam Buddha (obtained by opening the eight primary stupas located at places relevant to Buddha’s life. Learn how your comment data is processed. Originally commissioned in the third century BCE by Emperor Ashok this huge… May be I will dedicate just a post on them some day. Wow! Country: India State: Madhya Pradesh Timings: All days from sunrise to sunset When was it built: It was commissioned in the 3rd century BCE. Wheel represents his teaching and a stupa for his demise. Sanchi is the center of a region with a number of stupas, all within a few miles of Sanchi, including Satdhara, Bhojpur, and Andher, as well as Sonari. Since then this place has been the focal point of the Buddhist faith. Pillar 10 – Ruin of Ashoka Pillar just beside the Stupa 1. In the same complex of Sanchi Stupa there are ruins of other ancient monuments. The torana s, four in number, were attached to the plain railing around the middle of the 1st century bce. It’s also interesting that it’s so old. I would definitely be jaw-dropped when I see it in-person. It was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. That is such an amazing fact. Four elaborately carved gateways were added in the first century BCE.The last addition took place during the rule of the Guptas, sometime before 450 AD. Sanchi Stupa museum is open from 10am to 5pm. (Courtesy: Suyash Dwivedi [CC BY-SA 4.0])Scholars like Alfred A. Foucher say that the aniconic depictions of Buddha (as the Bodhi tree, a rider-less horse, an empty throne, etc.) I love it! The faces on the carvings are always so cool to look at. Greek Temple – Some pillars are the only remains of a Greek Temple close to Temple 17. One of them is happy and laughing. The large number of temples, monasteries and stupas in … The front of the northern gateway and entrance to the Great Stupa, which was built in the 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka. Sanchi Stupa was built in the 3rd Century BCE and was built by Emperor Ashoka. Thank you for sharing this as I learned something new today. Buddhist Torana in Sanchi basically consists of 2 square vertical columns. Temple 17, close to southern torana, is a Hindu Temple from Gupta Dynasty. Observe carefully and you will find all are different. They were added to the site in the 5th century AD, much later than the rest of the stupa’s decorations, as the worship continued here. One act of a reckless zamindar of that period, and all we have is the bits and parts of that grand Asoka pillar. The 8 kingdoms in which Buddha had lived received one portion each. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The almost hemispherical dome is the largest of any of the stupas to be found here, complemented by four hugely impressive gateways (toranas), covered in detailed carvings, located at the cardinal points. It is said that the laughing Buddha concept has its origins here. This remarkable monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989 and is very well preserved, particularly given its age. After that for reasons unknown the place slipped into oblivion. The respective kings constructed a stupa in their kingdoms to house these remains. I could do pradakshina of the great stupa at Sanchi. The diameter of the stupa is 36.60 meters and its height is 16.46 meters. As per the archaeological evidence, Sanchi Stupa was the first stupa ever made by King Ashoka. 30 per head. A panel in this torana has an image of Stupa of Ramagrama near Lumbini. Wow it’s amazing to think of all the history that has happened there. Sanchi was called Kakanadabota then. Almost 50 years after Ashoka’s death, the royal members of Shunga dynasty added layers on it with sandstone. Sanchi became his karmabhoomi (work place). Stupa 2 and Stupa 3 – Two more stupa are there in the same complex, believed to be made by Shunga dynasty. The composite flourished until the 11th century. These pages are from the lesson on Samrat Ashoka, the great emperor of India, who ruled almost the entire Indian subcontinent from 268BC to 232BC. Entry fee for Indian, foreigners and children below 15 years of age cost 40INR, 600INR and free respectively. Stupas nucleus was a hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. The Sanchi Stupa built during Mauryan period was made of bricks. Thank you for explaining all these things to us. I graduated from Architecture and the Sanchi Stupa is an iconic monument I’d love to explore its intricate details and ornaments. Finally I got to walk the pages of history books that had described the Sanchi Stupa. To spread Buddhism, ancient people believed that he built around 84,000 stupas, each of them contained some of the cremated mortal remains of Buddha that were obtained from a Rajagriha stupa. In northern and eastern torana the supporting figures are the elephants. The depictions in this torana narrate stories of miracles by Buddha. Stupa means a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine. Since then this place has been the focal point of the Buddhist faith. The old stupa was later covered when it was expanded. What an amazing opportunity to see history come to life! One of the most famous stupas, The Great Stupa (Mahastupa) was built at the birthplace of Ashoka’s wife, Devi, daughter of a local merchant. None of them depict Buddha in his human form. One must do this in clockwise direction barefoot. Sanchi Stupa is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. I hardly understood its complete significance then. The grand structure still inspires awe today and sits at the top of a hill, surrounded by the remains of smaller stupas, monasteries, and temples that were built as the religious community grew in the centuries after the site was founded. Instead there are symbols like: lotus or elephant for his birth. After the Shunga dynasty the Satavahana dynasty too contributed greatly to the embellishment of the Buddhist stupa. It is made of finely polished sandstone. Check out the southern Torana (gateway), there is mention that it was the work of Satakarni II’s royal architect Ananda. Please check official websites for more information. If you observe carefully 4 of them have 4 different expressions. The main body of the stupa symbolises the cosmic mountain. Check Temple 17, it is one of the earliest examples of Hindu Temple architecture by Gupta dynasty in that region. Sanchi Stupa was commissioned by Emperor Ashoka and supervised by his queen Devi and daughter Vidisha. They provide a full range of emotion. In 1989 Sanchi Stupa was declared UNESCO World Heritage site. Wikipedia. See below, this should help you understand the stupa structure you see in Sanchi. Discover this place. It makes traveling in your own country accessible. The site itself looks exquisite, can you imagine that rediscovery of it in 1818, what a thrill! Sanchi Stupa in Bhopal is mainly built during Mauryan dynasty rule. According to common belief, Ashoka chose this location as … . in the village of Sanchi located on an important trade route in the state of Madya Pradesh, India (photo: Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC: BY 2.0) Each of them deserves elaborate mentions. Main body of Stupa symbolises cosmic mountain. With a diameter of 36m and a height in excess of 16m, Stupa 1 at Sanchi is of course the highlight of any visit to the site. – © Michael Turtle. By the way, it must have been awesome to visit this site with an archaeologist. Location: Raisen District, Sanchi, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Inscription on this mentions That this gateway was donated by King Satakarni of Satavahana dynasty. Torana are ornamental gateways to Hindu and Buddhist temples. He ordered the stupas to be opened, except the one stupa in Ramagrama near Lumbini. Your email address will not be published. It is built in Buddhist architectural style and is one of the important Buddhist monuments. Built … Interesting that the 3 layers represent the 3 jewels of Buddhism. – © Michael Turtle. The inscription mentions the warning of expulsion of monks and nuns who tried to create schism in Buddhist community issued by Ashoka. , an avid traveler with a woman into 84,000 portions and distributed them all around the stupa built! Complex, believed to be built, in the 3rd century BC around... Haven ’ t known all these things to us temporarily closed to prevent the of... 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