Sanchi Stupa: An Ancient Buddhist Monument

Sanchi Stupa is located on top of a hill in the small village of Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, and is part of an old Buddhist complex. The Great Stupa, one of India’s oldest stone Buddhist monuments, is the most famous feature of the site. It is a living example of the art and architecture that flourished throughout Emperor Ashoka’s reign, with almost 2,000 years of history. The Great Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh’s capital city.

Sanchi Stupa: Architecture


The Buddhist architectural style can be seen in Sanchi’s Great Stupa. It is one of the largest of its sort in the country, with a height of 54 feet and a pedestal diameter of 120 feet. The Stupa’s main construction is a hemispheric dome with a basic design.


The dome is supported by a foundation that houses a relic chamber. The dome was allegedly built above Lord Buddha’s relics, according to popular belief. The Great Stupa’s railings are devoid of any artistic decoration. These railings are just basic stones with dedicatory inscriptions on them. Four ornately adorned ceremonial doorways face each of the four directions. These ceremonial gateways are carved with scenes from Jataka stories, events from Buddha’s life, scenes from the early Buddhist period, and various auspicious symbols.

Sanchi Stupa: History

Sanchi Stupa: An Eternal Journey of Spirituality

The first edifice created by Ashoka was a simple hemispheric monument made of bricks, rather than stone. Many scholars believe the Great Stupa was demolished during Emperor Pushyamitra Shunga’s reign in the 2nd century BCE. Agnimitra, his son, rebuilt the monument, laying stone slabs over the previous brick Stupa. Additional features were added to the Stupa in the latter part of the Shunga period, causing it to grow to twice its original size. Sanchi’s second and third stupas were also constructed around this time. Four ceremonial gateways, known as toranas, and an embellished balustrade were erected during the Satavahana dynasty, which began in the 1st BCE.


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