SANCHI STUPA | TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO SANCHI
#5 of 14 Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Sanchi: Bhopal (46 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Sanchi: July to March
Peak Season: November to February
At a distance of 12 km from Vidisha, 21 km from Raisen, 46 km from Bhopal, 105 km from Bhimbetka, 238 km from Indore, 282 km from Jabalpur, 285 km from Jhansi, 289 km from Orchha, and 329 km from Khajuraho, Sanchi is a small historical town in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Famous worldwide for its Buddhist monuments, it is one of the popular places of heritage in India, and among the must include places in Madhya Pradesh tour packages.
The town of Sanchi is the center of a region with innumerable age-old stupas, monasteries, temples, monolithic pillars, and other remnants of the rich Buddhist culture. The monuments at Sanchi today comprise a series of Buddhist monuments starting from the Maurya Empire period (3rd century BCE), continuing with the Gupta Empire period (5th century CE), and ending around the 12th century CE. The sculptures and monuments present at the site are probably the best-preserved group of Buddhist monuments in India, and among the prominent historical places to visit near Bhopal.
Earlier, Sanchi was known as Vidisha Giri which was a center of wealthy merchants, and with their support, the small town was flourished as a foremost center of Buddhist custom. Also, Sanchi reveals a genuine love story which is about Devi, a pretty girl who was a devout Buddhist. It is believed that King Ashoka fell for this girl and it is also said that the Devi motivated Ashoka to build such fabulous and enchanting monuments in Sanchi. After the decline of Buddhism, Sanchi seemed to be out of the map until it was rediscovered in the year 1818. The structures were restored to their present condition under the supervision of Sir John Marshall between 1912 and 1919. Given the popularity of this historical wonder from the Mauryan Empire, it is surprising to note that Sanchi was not even visited by Lord Buddha once.
Sanchi stands in testimony to the golden Buddhist age of Emperor Ashoka. This place is extremely important to the followers of Buddhism as it boasts many stupas, including the famous Sanchi Stupa, among the must-include places in Sanchi tour packages. A renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Stupa is one of the oldest stone structures in India and was installed by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty in the 3rd century BC. This Greco-Buddhist-style monument is believed to hold the bones and beads of some of the closest disciples of Buddha. Sanchi Stupa is depicted on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of Rs 200 to signify its importance to Indian cultural heritage. Besides, Ashoka Pillar, the Great Bowl, Sanchi Museum, Gupta Temple, and Udayagiri Caves are some of the famous places to visit in Sanchi.
Besides, Sanchi is home to the International Buddhist Festival, celebrated at Chetiyagiri Vihara every year usually on the last Sunday of November. Also known as the Chetiyagiri Vihara Festival, the Maha Bodhi Society of India has taken the responsibility of organizing this festival for the past 65 years. The event attracts hundreds of local and foreign tourists, hailing from as far afield as Japan, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan, who gathered to pay homage to holy relics of the Buddha's two foremost disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.
Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal is the nearest airport which is about 54 km from Bhimbetka. It has well connected direct flights from Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi. Sanchi has a small railway station which is connected by a few trains with cities like Allahabad, Chennai, Katra, Jhansi, Itarsi, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Mumbai, and Amritsar, The major nearest railway station is Bhopal Junction which is located 46 km away from Sanchi. Sanchi is well-connected by road with Bhopal, Vidisha, Itarsi, and Indore. One can hire an auto, cab, or bus to reach Sanchi from Bhopal.
Since Sanchi is a small town, you may not find too many exclusive places for staying, and
most of the accommodation and eating revolves around the city of Bhopal, and Vidisha. However, you will find restaurants that serve diverse types of cuisines such as North and South Indian, besides Continental and Chinese menu.
The best time to visit Sanchi is from July to March when the weather is pleasant and suitable for sightseeing. One can also visit Sanchi during the monsoon season, however, it might be a bit difficult to get around the city if it is raining too hard. While, summers should be avoided, owing to the hot, and humid climate.
Sanchi Historic Site Timings: 6.30 AM - 6.30 PM
Sanchi Historic Site Entry : Rs.30 for Indians, & Rs.500 for Foreigners