Sanchi is a World Heritage Site. The ancient history of the land is evident in the temples, stupas and monasteries found here. The place is considered a major pilgrim center by followers of Buddhism. Some of the monuments here date back to 3rd century BC. Given below are the leading attractions of Sanchi.
• The Great Stupa
• Udaygiri Caves
• Ashoka Pillar
• Gupta Temple
The Great Stupa
Stupas naturally come to your mind if you think of Sanchi. The stupas here are stunning specimen of the architectural excellence of the past. Great Stupa, which is Sanchi’s first stupa, was constructed in 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka. The exquisite carvings in the stupa boast of the craftsmanship involved in its making. The Great Stupa is situated on a hill at a height of about 300 feet. The 71 feet tall stupa looks spectacular as you view from afar. Visiting Great Stupa would be a beautiful beginning to tour Sanchi; yes, you would feel as if you are revisiting history.
Nothing could be more interesting than viewing the works of the past. Withstood the test of times or in ruins, historic monuments always draw your attention. They not only allow you to look into the past but make your imagination go wild as you walk down the path that was treaded by angels and devils, victorious and the defeated, magnanimous and the cruel characters in history. Udayagiri Caves, a group of 20 caves, make an interesting presentation of the past. Sculptures representing Hinduism and Jainism from Gupta Era are seen in the caves. The caves date back to a period between 4th and 5th century AD. Some of the caves are located at the top of the hill while most are located in the foothill. Giant Narasimha sculpture attracts the most.
Life of Emperor Ashoka has lots of tell to power mongers. Rarely such examples are seen in the past when an emperor as mighty as Ashoka decided to travel the path of angels by calling an end to war to conquer land. He had conveyed his message loud and clear by building pillars across his kingdom. The pillars ranged between 40 to 50 feet in height. Near the southern gateway of Sanchi Stupa stands the famous Ashoka Pillar of 3rd century BC. The pillar represents elegance, creativity and exquisite architecture. Built in Greco Buddhist style, the 16.4 meter tall pillar with Four Lions had been given a stunning polish making the pillar brilliantly shine till to date.
Constructed in the 5th century AD, Gupta Temple in Sanchi stands proof of the architectural excellence of the Gupta period. It also reflects the integrity that prevailed among people belonging to various faiths for the temple was constructed in a land that was predominantly a Buddhist pilgrim center. The structural beauty of the temple so captivated Sir John Marshall that he considered it one of the most logical designs. The temple is a must visit destination in Sanchi.