UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Built In: 3rd century B.C.
Sanchi Year of Inscription: 1989

Reasons for Inscription: Criteria number (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6). These monuments are some of the oldest preserved monuments of India and epitomize Mauryan architecture, traditions and beliefs.

Category: Religious structure and Buddhist

The Buddhist monuments at Sanchi are classic illustrations of Mauryan Art and Architecture in the form of stupas, holy shrines and monasteries of the Buddha. According to Indian history, when the great Mauryan King Asoka embraced Buddhism, he constructed his first Stupa, known as Sanchi Stupa. He later built several more stupas, as well as many other religious edifices. The British army rediscovered these fascinating sites in the year 1818.

A brief insight
Great Stupa, one of the Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, was erected for paying homage to Lord Buddha. It is basically a low-altitude edifice made of bricks. In the olden days, a barrier made of wood bounded it and there was also a stone umbrella placed at the apex of the Stupa.

The second largest stupa, the Sanchi Stupa, is a major monument constructed to portray the life and journey of Lord Buddha. This monument attracts historians and tourists in droves and is the oldest stone structure in the country. Sanchi Stupa is a model of excellence in inscription, which can be clearly seen on the four gateways of the structure. The Sanchi Stupa was renovated and decorated with staircase, railings and harmika during the rule of Shunga Dynasty.

The relics of Lord Buddha and his sermons are wonderfully engraved on the columns and pillars of the stupas. During the Mauryan Empire, Sanchi was also known as Bota Sriparvata, Kakanaya and Kakanava. It is a famous pilgrimage destination for the followers of Buddhism.

How to Reach

By Air: Nearest domestic airport is Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal

By Train: The nearest railway station is Bhopal (47 kms)

By Road: Sanchi is well linked by a network of roads from various major cities like Vidisha, Indore and Bhopal