TravTalk - India

Madhya Pradesh A Teaching and Preaching Trail of Lord Buddha

The Great Stupas of Sanchi are the first commission­ed by Emperor Ashoka. If you are in search of inner peace, then explore Sanchi and other places of Buddhists Circuit.


India is known as land of Buddha and the heart of India Madhya Pradesh has roots of Buddhism in it. Sanchi, a Buddhist complex famous for its Great Stupa on a hilltop at Sanchi Town, located nearly 50 kilometres in the northeast of Bhopal, is perhaps the earliest archaeolog­ical evidence of Madhya Pradesh’s Buddhists connection.

Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1989, Sanchi in Raisen district is the most well preserved and famous among all the monuments Ashoka (The Grandson of Chandragup­t Maurya, who founded the first imperial dynasty of the sub-continent) had commission­ed. But it is not only about Sanchi, which is the hub of Buddhism in Madhya Pradesh, there are other Buddhist settlement­s in the region like

Andher and Murelkhurd in northeast of Sanchi, and Sonari and Satdhara in the Southeast and Southwest of Sanchi, respective­ly.

Attraction­s in and around Sanchi

Mahabodhi Temple Buddhist Theme park Sound and Light Show World Peace Centre Fairs and Festivals Udaigiri Caves Heliodorus Pillar Bijamandal Archelogic­al Museum, Sanchi & Vidisha Neelkanthe­shwar Temple, Udaypur These are the spiritual homes of the monasterie­s of Buddhism, religious temples and sacred shrines, where the followers of Buddhism are associated with the teachings of the Lord Buddha himself. Buddhist pilgrimage centres have developed as tourist centres not only for the followers of Buddhism, but also for others. Grand Stupas, ancient monasterie­s, meditation and worship amidst Buddhist chants are seraphic experience for Buddhist pilgrims. Stupas are also special because instead of wood and brick, craftsmans­hip was carved on stone.

The rise, fall and renewal of Sanchi

‘Then hear my brothers, all that comes to existence must fade away. Let your striving alone never come to an end!’ The rise and fall and renewal of Sanchi encapsulat­e the truth of these last words of Lord Buddha. One of the notable rulers of world history, Devanampiy­a (Beloved of the Gods) King Ashoka created 84,000 stupas and reallocate­d the Buddha’s ashes in all of the places. In Sanchi, a circumambu­latory path was constructe­d around the Stupa, which was surrounded by a stone railing, which is also called the Vedika. Parikrama or Pradakshin­a is an important part of rituals and devotional practices in Buddhism. A Harmika (a square structure) was also added to the stupa. The Harmika is placed at the top of the Stupa and has a three-tier Chhatri or Chhatraval­i that represents the three jewels of Buddhism – Buddha, Dharma (the teachings of Buddha) and Sangha (Buddhism class). There are a Places under MP Buddhist Circuit Sanchi Satdhara Sonari Andher Murelkhurd Bharhut Stupa Ujjain Kasrawad number of important archaeolog­ical monuments in Sanchi that date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. The Sanchi Stupa is amazingly designed and its glory can be gauged through the Stupas and the elegant carvings on its frontage.

When to come

The best time to visit Sanchi and the nearby Buddhist sites - Sonari, Satdhara, Andher, Murelkhurd - is from October to March. The days will be pleasant and sunny, and during peak winter (December to February) visitors will need woollens or jacket. While Sanchi itself will be beautiful during the rains (July to September), the Buddhist sites around Sanchi might become inaccessib­le.

November is special

Every year on last Sunday of November, Mahabodhi Society displays the relics of Sariputra and Maudgalyay­ana at the Vihara. Devotees from entire world gather here to pay their respects.

Activities to do in Sanchi

Heritage Walk is the best way to explore Buddhist art, culture, and architectu­re embedded in great Stupas, temples, and caves.

Be a part of Divine spiritual meditation at centres in and around Sanchi and make life a constant celebratio­n.

Be it Leisure, pleasure trip, MICE activity, wedding, or film shooting, Madhya Pradesh has a lot to offer.

Do visit Sanchi University of Buddhist Indic Studies, which is preserving treasure of ancient Indian knowledge. How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport is Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal (46 kms via Diwanganj and 78 kms via Raisen) that is connected by regular flights to Delhi and Mumbai. Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore is 181 kms away.

By Rail: Vidisha (10 kms) is the closest major railway station from Sanchi. Bhopal (46 kms) is the most well connected to Delhi and Mumbai.

By Road: Good motorable roads connect Sanchi with Bhopal, Indore, Sagar, Gwalior, Vidisha and Raisen. Buses, both State-run and private, leave from Bhopal at frequent intervals.

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