Where to go
The giant, red dome on top of the hill dominates the peaceful countryside with benign majesty. More than any other monuments, the Great Stupa at Sanchi symbolises the rise and spread of Buddhism in India.
Sanchi is located in the district of Raisen in Madhya Pradesh, 46 kms from the state capital of Bhopal. The ruins of stupas, temples and monasteries that lie strewn across the hill recall the time when Buddhism had spread across the land and the monasteries at Sanchi teemed with monks and lay worshippers.
Sanchi is the largest site of Buddhist remains in India. However, unlike most other Buddhist pilgrimages, it is not directly connected to the life of the Buddha. Its 1,300 years of history chronicle the rise and decline of Buddhism in India.
Originally, stupas were built over the relics of the Buddha or at sites important to his life. Later Emperor Ashoka (273-236 BC) is said to have built 84,000 stupas and renovated many more, of which the Sanchi stupas are the best known.
Presently under an UNESCO project Sanchi and Satdhara, a Buddhist site, 10 km south-east of Sanchi, is being further excavated, conserved and environmentally developed.