What is the significance of Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi?

Sanchi is a monument located in Madhya Pradesh about 9 kilometers from Vidisha. This is a town which gains its significance due to the Buddhist Stupas which are the structures (hemispherical in shape) containing the relics of Gautama Buddha and his followers. The site of Sanchi is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset.

  • Historical Background − It was built by the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka. The site actually was considered ideal, due to its hill-top view. It built due to the strong foundation of the newly aroused zeal of Buddhism. Ashoka took to Buddhism after the Kalinga war and propagated what came to be known as the Dhamma (Pali word for Dharma) of Ashoka.

  • The Great Stupa − The toranas (the gateways) of the Great Stupa have carvings where one feels some of the stories being narrated to them. Some of the depictions in the panels include animals like lions, elephant, etc. There is the wheel of Dharma shown and one key highlight of the gateway is depiction Mahamaya, Buddha’s mother who is said to have given birth to Buddha standing. The Great Stupa itself is a massive hemispherical structure with a diameter of about 35 meters.

  • Sanchi Stupa 2 − This Stupa is located at some distance westwards from the Great Stupa. There are some motifs of flowers and the diameter of the Stupa is around 14 m. It is also one of the oldest Stupas built around 2nd or 1st Century BCE.

  • Sanchi Stupa 3 − This lies to the north of the Great Stupa. It holds its importance as the chamber in the Stupa contains the relics of two of the most prominent discipline of Gautama Buddha- Mahamogalana and Sariputta. It is said to be constructed around the 1st Century BCE with a diameter of about 15 meters.