Sanchi is a very special place and the sculptures here are full of vitality and freshness. It is a small village at the foot of the hill. Archaelogical Museum : The most interesting pieces are the lion capital from the Ashoka pillar, a yakshi hanging from a mango tree and a beautiful Buddha figure in red sandstone. Great Stupa : Stupa 1 is the main structure on the hill.It stands 16 mtrs. high and 37 mtr. in diameter. A railing encircles the stupa and there are 4 entrances through magnificently carved gateways or toranas. This toranas are the finest works of art at Sanchi and amongst the finest example of Buddhist art in India. Toranas : The scenes carved onto the pillars and their triple architraves are mainly tales from the jatakas, the episodes of the Buddha's various lives. The lotus stands for the birth of Buddha, the bo tree represents his enlightenment, the wheel his teachings and the footprint and throne symbolise his presence. Northern Gateway : The gateway topped by a wheel of law is the best preserved of the gateways. It shows many scenes from the Buddha's life, both in his last incarnation and in earlier lives. Elephants, facing in four directions, support the architraves above the columns, while horses with riders and more elephants fill the gaps between the architraves. Eastern Gateway : One pillar on this gateway includes scenes of the Buddha's entry to nirvana. The figure of a yakshi maiden, hanging out from one of the architraves, is one of the best known images of Sanchi.



Southern Gateway : The oldest of the gateways, this includes scenes of the Buddha's birth and also events from Ashoka's life as a Buddhist. Western Gateway : The gateway, with the architraves supported by dwarves, has some of the most interesting scenes at the site. The top front architraves shows the Buddha in 7 different incarnations. The colourful events of the Chhaddanta Jataka are related on the front face of the bottom architrave. Pillars : The most important is pillar 10, which was erected by Ashoka and stands close to the southern entrance to the great stupa.The 3 back-to-back lions are an excellent example of the Greco-Buddhist art of that era at its finest. They now form the state emblem of India. Other Stupas : There are many other stupas on the hill. Stupa 2, one of the most interesting is halfway down the hill to the west. The 'medallions' which decorate the surrounding walls are of great interest. Flowers, animals and people are found all around the stupa. Stupa 3, stands north-east of the main stupa and is similar in design to the great stupa. Stupa 2, down the hill, also contain relics of important Buddhist teachers. Between stupa 1 and stupa 3 is stupa 5. Temples : Immediately south of stupa 1 is temple 18, a chaitya hall which in style is remarkably similar to classical Greek-columned buildings. Beside this temple is the small temple 17. The large temple 40 is to the south-east of these two temples. Temple 6 stands between 40 and 18. It is known as the Gupta Temple. This temple is interesting in that it displays the Indian temple style with a porch leading to the central shrine.



Monasteries : Monasteries 45 and 47 stand on the higher, eastern edge of the hilltop. There is a good view of the village of Sanchi below and Vidisha in the distance from this side of the hill. Monastery 51 is partway down the hill on the western side towards stupa 2. Close to it is the 'great bowl' in which food and offerings were placed for distribution to the monks. It was carved out of a huge boulder.



GETTING THERE AND AWAY BUS Local buses connect Bhopal with Sanchi (and other towns and villages in the area) about every hour from dawn to dusk. The longer route goes via Raisen (an interesting town with an extensive hilltop fortress), takes 3 hours for the 68-km trip. The

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