About Sanchi

Country: India | State: 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 must-include historical places in Bhopal tour packages.

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

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 07482
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Bhojpuri, Sindhi, Gujarati, Urdu & English
Major Festivals: International Buddhist Festival

How to Reach Sanchi

By Air

Nearest Airport: Bhopal - Raja Bhoj Airport (54 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Sanchi Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Sanchi Bus Stand (1 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Sanchi


#1 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1.5 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Sanchi Stupa or the Great Stupa is a Buddhist monument located inside the historic site of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh. Situated atop a small hillock, it is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in India, and among the must include places in Sanchi tour Packages.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989, the Great Stupa is the largest stupa as well as the most noteworthy of the structures at the historic site of Sanchi and counted among the best conserved ancient Stupas of central India. Also called Stupa No. 1, the Sanchi Stupa was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by the Mauryan king Ashoka and is believed to house the ashes of the Buddha and his disciples. The stupa was originally a low structure of brick, half the diameter of the present edifice hemispherical in shape with raised terraces at the base. It was damaged in the 2nd century BCE during the rule of Shunga Emperor Pushyamitra Shunga and later his son Agnimitra .....

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#2 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 500 m from the Great Stupa, and 2 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Sanchi Stupa 2 or Stupa No.2 is a Buddhist stupa located in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the Buddhist monuments in the historic site of Sanci, and among the top places to visit in Sanchi.

Stupa 2 stands on the hillside about to the west of the Great Stupa and is one of the oldest existing Buddhist stupas in India. It is believed to have been constructed during the end of the 2nd century to the 1st century BCE and is the oldest of the three Stupas from the Shunga period. It is of particular interest since it has the earliest known important displays of decorative reliefs in India, probably anterior to the reliefs at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, or the reliefs of Bharhut.

The diameter of the dome is about 14 m. It has no Harmika or Chhatra and has been cut flat on top. The excavation found a relic chamber holding four caskets for ashes made of steatite, on which the names of ten .....

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#3 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1.5 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Sanchi Stupa 3 or Stupa No.3 is a Buddhist stupa located in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the Buddhist monuments in the historic site of Sanchi and among the top Sanchi tourist places.

Stupa 3 is located just 100 m north of the Great Stupa, and in the 2nd century BC during the time of the Shunga rule complete with the staircase and the balustrade. As the diameter of its pedestal is about 15m, its scale is nearly the same as Stupa 2 as a whole. It is similar in design to the Great Stupa, though smaller, with a single, rather fine gateway. However, the outer wall has been lost and there remains no more than the South Torana among those of the four cardinal points at present.

The Stupa 3 has a crown on the hemispherical dome which has special religious importance. It has an umbrella made of polished stone. The single torana gateway oriented to the south is not Shunga and was built later under the Satavahanas, probably .....

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#4 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1.5 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Gupta Period Temple is an ancient temple located within the main complex of the Sanchi Stupas in Madhya Pradesh. Situated near the Great Stupa, this temple is a must-visit attraction in Sanchi.

Constructed in the 5th century AD, Gupta Temple, also known as Temple No.17 is situated on the south-east side of the Mahastupa or the Great Stupa of Sanchi. The temple stands as proof of the architectural excellence of the Gupta period. Most scholars agree that the temple was used for Buddhist worship. While temple-building in Buddhism didn't gain popularity, many of the elements of this temple would go on to be incorporated into Hindu temple architecture.

Temple No. 17 is an early temple of the Gupta period and is an excellent example of simplicity and grandeur. This elegant temple has a simple flat-roofed sanctum with a porch that has four pillars in the front. The ceiling of the sanctum is slightly higher than the roof of the .....

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#5 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1.5 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Ashoka Pillar is one of the pillars built by Ashoka. Situated close to the Southern gateway of the Great Stupa in Sanchi, it is one of the must-visit places as part of Sanchi Packages.

Known for its aesthetic proportions and exquisite structural balance, Ashoka Pillar is one of the most popular attractions in Sanchi. The Pillar erected in the 3rd century BC consists of a shaft and a crown of four lions that stand back to back. It is rather unfortunate but the total Ashoka Pillar does not stand here now. The shaft of the pillar can only be seen at the gateway and the crown has been kept in the Sanchi Museum. The figure of these lions was later adopted as the National Emblem of India.

The structure of the pillar is influenced by the Greco Buddhist style. It also resembles the Sarnath pillar a The sandstone out of which the pillar is carved came from the quarries of Chunar. The pillar is 42 feet tall and consisted of a round .....

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#6 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1.5 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Great Bowl & Buddhist Monasteries are among the ancient ruins within the historical site of Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. Situated on the way to Stupa No.2, it is one of the must include places in Sanchi Tour Packages.

Amongst the various historical monuments which stand tall in Sanchi after centuries of being constructed, the Great Bowl or the Grand Gumbha is a monolithic stone bowl carved from a single huge rock that collected offerings monks received in the Ashokan Era. The Sanchi group of monuments used to house monasteries for a great number of Buddhist monks. At day-end, all the food offerings collected by them used to be poured into this huge stone basin and each was given a portion from it. This was their passage to detachment and community living.

As for Buddhist monasteries, there were seven, one of which is Monastery 51, located in a place situated partway down the hill towards Stupa 2. It has a typical plan with an .....

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#7 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 1 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Archaeological Museum is a museum located within the historic site of Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. Situated near the famous Sanchi Stupa, it is one of the must-visit places as part of the Sanchi Tour.

Also known as Sanchi Museum, the Archaeological Museum was established on the hilltop in 1919 by Sir John Marshall. Later, the Archaeological Survey of India acquired a college building at the foothill of Sanchi Stupa and got the exhibits shifted to the new building in the year 1966. The museum exhibits a large number of astonishing leftovers and artworks discovered during excavations at Sanchi itself while the rest are from its neighboring villages including Vidisha, Gulgaon, Gyaraspur, and Murelkhurd. The amazing carvings and tools made of metal showcased in the museum are around 2000 years old.

With a single floored white building, the museum comprises the main hall and four galleries besides exhibits in the verandah and a few .....

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#8 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 7 km from Vidisha, and 10 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Udayagiri Caves or Udaigiri Caves are a group of rock-cut caves located at Udaigiri village in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in India, and among the must include places in Sanchi Tour Packages.

Udayagiri, literally means the 'sunrise mountain', was a Buddhist and Hindu site by the 2nd century BCE. The place is also referred to as Visnupadagiri which means the hill at 'the feet of Vishnu'. The Udayagiri Caves are a group of 20 rock-cut caves near Vidisha from the early years of the 5th century CE. They contain some of the oldest surviving Hindu temples and iconography in India. Besides, these caves have rock-cut water tanks, and some have shrines and monuments on top.

Out of 20 caves, one is dedicated to Jainism, while others to Hinduism including Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and Shaivism. The Jain Cave is notable for one of the oldest known Jaina inscriptions from 425 .....

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#9 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 9 km from Sanchi Railway Station, Bijamandal is an ancient temple located in Vidisha near Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. Popularly known as Vijayamandira Temple, it is one of the must-visit places near Sanchi.

Bijamandal or Bija Mandal was an enormous temple built in the 11th century during the reign of Parmara King Naravarman. The incomplete architectural design and the foundation stones suggest that the construction remained unfinished. This soaring Brahmanical temple was dedicated to the Goddess Charchika also known as Vijaya. The temple was demolished on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1682 and constructed a mosque called Alamgiri Masjid in the same site.

As per the legend, the great temple was 35 m high and 39 m wide. What remains on the site would just have been the base for a much larger structure full of columns and ornately-carved statues. Fascinating carvings from the temple are arranged on the grounds, awaiting classification and display .....

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Heritage | City

#10 of 15 Places to Visit in Sanchi

At a distance of 45 km from Sanchi, 193 km from Indore, 194 km from Pachmarhi, 195 km from Ujjain, 320 km from Jhansi, 324 km from Jabalpur, 354 km from Nagpur, 370 km from Khajuraho, 407 km from Gwalior, 506 km from Udaipur, 582 km from Ahmedabad, 599 km from Jaipur, and 607 km from Lucknow, Bhopal is the capital city of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of Bhopal district. It is one of the top places to visit in Madhya Pradesh, and among the must include places in India tour packages.

The city of Bhopal is often called the 'City of Lakes' as it features a pair of artificial lakes - Upper Lake and Lower Lake, among the must include places in Bhopal tour packages. One of the greenest cities in India, the city can be divided into two parts, the old city towards the north comprising of rustic mosques, .....

Distance (From Sanchi): 45 Kms
Trip Duration (From Sanchi - Including Travel): Full Day

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