Complete India Travel Guide

"Sanchi, the most ancient pilgrimage destination is the main center of Buddhism in Madhya Pradesh. Studded with marvelous Buddhist Stupas, great Ashoka Pillar and monasteries, Sanchi beckons all kind of travelers and history buffs to visit this timeless wonders of Lord Buddha that have become the gateway for the Buddhist pilgrimages to achieve the path of divinity."
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Places to Visit in Sanchi Tourism

Sanchi Stupa - Sanchi
Sanchi Stupa - Sanchi

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Sanchi - The Divine Destination of Lord Buddha

Sanchi is a small town on the outskirts of Bhopal, situated around 48 km from the capital city. The town comes under the district of Vidisha. Sanchi is the living example of visions and beliefs of Emperor Ashoka. The town is scattered with numerous Buddhist structures like pillars and stupas. Although the city is world known for these Buddhist sites, but Sanchi does not have great significance or consequences in Buddhist history. Though it is now considered as a pilgrimage town due to the monasteries that are present here. Emperor Ashoka came here and married the daughter of a local merchant. Sanchi thus became his center and he carried out the construction of many buildings. The Ashoka Pillar and the Great Sanchi stupa are the most exquisite works of those time. The Stupas were the earliest forms of Buddhist architecture that were the inspiration for many other buildings.

Along with the historical buildings, don't forget to visit the archaeological museum. It showcases the renowned image of Four Lions that once sat atop the Ashoka Pillar. Although a visit to the town is comfortable through out the year, the best time is between the months of October and March.

Attractions - Simple Yet Outstanding

The small town of Sanchi holds a lot in its heart. The stupas, the pillars, and monasteries, all retain their old exuberance and aura. While walking past them, one can feel the history zip past their eyes. Most of the attractions of the city were built between the 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. There are around 50 in all including temples, stupas, pillars and torranas.

The Great Sanchi Stupa

This probably is the most visited and most photographed structure in Madhya Pradesh. This dome shaped building and the panels are inscribed with many drawings that depict the life of Buddha. You will also find Brahmi script carved at different places in the stupa. The stupas of Sanchi have been recognized as world heritage site by UNESCO. The construction of the Stupa was approved by Emperor Ashoka in the third century. This hemispherical dome structure was built to house the relics of Buddha.

The Ashoka Pillar

The magnificent Ashoka Pillar was built by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century. The pillar is located close to the southern gate of Sanchi Stupa. The pillar here is known for its 'aesthetic proportions and superb structural balance. However the pillar does not have the 24 spoked dharmachakra or wheel of life that you will find on the pillar in Sarnath. The base of the pillar is intact but the top of the pillar which was crowned with the famous four lions, is not the same any more. The four lions have been removed and have been kept in the Archaeological museum nearby.

The Buddhist Vihara

The Buddhist Vihara is considered a sacred place for Buddhists. It houses the sacred relics of the Satdhara Stupa. They are kept in a glass chest inside the inner sanctum, on a platform. The monastery is situated few kilometers away from Sanchi.

Archaeological Museum

Established in the year 1919 by Sir John Marshall, Archaeological Museum of Sanchi has become a great tourist attraction and a wonderful preserver of history. The museum was relocated to the base of Sanchi stupa in 1966. You will find articles belonging to six periods Satvahana, Maurya, Sunga, Gupta, post Gupta and Kushana. Most of the items were found in Sanchi itself. The major objects of interest in the museum are the huge images of Dhyani Buddha, Yakshi, and Nagarjuna. However the Ashoka Lion Capital is what will captivate you the most. The image shows four lions sitting with their back towards each other and facing different direction. The museum has been a great help in knowing the lifestyle and culture of our ancestors. You can visit the museum between 10 AM and 5 PM except on Fridays.


Sanchi has good number of hotels, both luxuries and budget. There are two MPTDC accommodations in the city. There are well equipped rest houses as well. If you are coming to Sanchi for a day excursion, then you will find ample cafeterias and shelters that will prove quite helpful.

Getting There

By Air

The closest Airport is at Bhopal which is around 46 km from here. Catch a bus or hire a taxi. It will not take more than an hour.

By Rail

Sanchi has its own railhead but many trains do not have a stop here. Major station nearby is Bhopal which is an important link in central India.

By Road

Sanchi is well connected to all major cities of Madhya Pradesh. Buses to and from Bhopal are frequent.

Local Transport

Buses are the major players in town transportation. Traveling in an auto rickshaw is also very convenient.

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