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     Sanchi, one of the places sacred to Buddhists, is famous for its stupas. The most famous one is Stupa I built by the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka. The relics in the stupas are missing today.

    The Sanchi edifice is also one of the oldest stone structures in India. The hemispherical dome is 36.5 mts in diameter and 16.4 mts in height. The taranas around it are excellent examples of Buddhist art of the early period. The various facets of Buddha's life are presented through symbols such as lotus for his birth, tree for his enlightenment, the wheel for his first sermon and so on. The eastern gateway portrays prince Gautama leaving the palace seeking enlightenment. The western gateway shows the seven incarnations of Buddha. The northern gateway depicts Buddha's miracles and in the southern gateway episodes relating to Gautama's birth are shown, all in stone. The four gateways of Stupa I were built by the Satavahanas in the 1st century BC.

   The Yakshi, a bracket figure on the eastern gateway of the Great Stupa in Sanchi.The gateway is an illustration of Gautama (Buddha) quitting the palace. A researcher's delight.

      Nearby is the structurally exquisite Ashoka pillar. The Gupta temple No 17 of the 5th century AD, nearby, however, is the one that marks the evolution of Indian temple architecture.

     The Buddhist Vihara, the Great Bowl and the Museums of the ASI are some other spots one may profit by a visit.

How to reach: Sanchi's nearest airport is Bhopal, 46 km away. The nearest railhead is Vidishi (10 km). Sanchi is linked with all major towns by roads.



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