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Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Listed under Temples in Bhopal, India.

Photo of Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
Photo by UNESCO
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A story of Buddhism written in 15 centuries' worth of stone temples resides at Sanchi. Beginning in the 3rd Century BC during the Sunga period with the 'Great Stupa', an delicately-carved but massive hemispherical temple, it continues through the construction of the huge gates, covered in narrative carvings, and many other stupas and temples in diferrent, later styles. All the monuments have been carefully restored and the many artefacts discovered within have been well-preserved. The immediate area is unspoiled enough to evoke a sense of the great history of the place, consisting of nothing more than the village of Sanchi and the surrounding countryside.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century A.D.

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Great Stupa

The classic stupa shape was most prominent during the Mauryan dynasty in India. Ashoka Maurya Buddhist influence whilst ruler of India helped spread Buddhist philosophy and doctrine in India, its symbolism penetrating Indian art and architecture. Also known as Stupa Number One, it was one of the earlier stupa forms, capped spectacularly by the monumental dome as its centrepiece, an almost perfect hemisphere aligned with the sun. The stone gateways and surrounding terrace were added a century later. Later still, four stone buddhas were placed along the outside walls of the stupa. To see the Great Stupa and its surrounding stupas is to see almost the entire span of Buddhist architecture in India.


For centuries, Buddhism flourished in India. The town of Sanchi houses the most ancient examples of Buddhist art and architecture, a World Heritage site with Buddhist monuments from the 2nd century BC. The construction of the Great Stupa was followed by the adding on of other stupas, gateways, and a balustrade, many of which are carved with elaborate depictions of Buddha’s life. This sanctuary, the oldest of its kind, was used until the 12th century when the overarching influence of Hinduism led to the decline of practicing Buddhists in India.

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