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Sanchi is one of the popular tourist attractions in Central India. It is a tiny village situated in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. The village is famous for housing various Buddhist memorials and ranks as one of the famous pilgrimage hubs for the followers of Buddhism. Currently, about fifty memorials are there on the mound of Sanchi, which comprises various places of worship and three stupas.

Where is Sanchi located?

Detailed Sanchi maps show that the village of Sanchi lies at a distance of about 10 km from Vidisha and Besnagar and 46 km northeast to Bhopal, in the heart of the Madhya Pradesh state. The village serves as a nagar panchayat and forms a part of the Raisen district. The coordinates of the area are 23°28'50" North and 77°44'11" East.

Area and population of Sanchi

According to the census performed in 2001, the population of the place was 6,785. About 53% of the people living in the area are men and 47% women. The mean literacy rate of the place is 67%, which has surpassed the countrywide mean of 59.5%. Literacy among women is 57% and literacy among men is 75%. Approximately 16% of the inhabitants living in the area are below the age of 6 years.

Why is Sanchi famous?

Sanchi houses various Buddhist memorials and historic sites which belong to the period ranging from 12th century CE (Common Era) to 3rd century BCE (Before Common Era). The Sanchi Stupa is a popular Buddhist Pilgrimage Center in India. The area has won the honor of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Stupa is bordered by Toranas or forms of entrances and every one of the Toranas is a symbol of harmony, affection, bravery, and faith.

Ashoka the Great, the famous ruler, initially constructed the magnificent Sanchi Stupa during the 3rd Century BCE (Before Common Era). The core of the construction was shaped as a semicircle, which was made over the remnants of Gautama Buddha. There is a Chatra, which has been used as a coronet of the monument. The chatra looks like a sunshade, which represents high position and was planned to respect and protect the remnants. The four symbols in the stupa represent four crucial events in life and they are as follows:

  • Tree (Enlightenment)
  • Elephant or Lotus (Birth)
  • Stupa (Parinirvana)
  • Wheel (Preaching the First Sermon)

Etymology of the word Sanchi

The expression "Sanchi" might have been derived from Sanch, which is an expression used in both Pali and Sanskrit language. The meaning of the term is to measure. Nonetheless, the term has a different meaning in Hindi language - Moulds of Stones.

How to reach Sanchi

Sanchi is situated at a distance of 46 km from Bhopal and Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh is adequately linked to all the major cities in India. You don't need to have your own car since the buses plying to Ashta from the state capital can help you reach a point which is just half a km from the area. Places with accommodation and dining facilities are available inside one sq km of the place. The railhead is quite near to the place as well. The Vidisha Railway Station is not so famous however it will be simpler to reach Sanchi if you reach there because of its proximity to Sanchi.

What to see in Sanchi

Other than the Stupas, there is an archeological museum in the place which houses a number of amazing relics and works of art. These works of art truly reflect the culture and background of this famous pilgrimage site. Stunning carvings and implements made of metal as ancient as 2000 years would instill a sense of that period in you. The archeological museum demonstrates the chronicles and resurgence of this sacred area.

What to eat in Sanchi

Delectable South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines are available in hotels close to the area.

Where to stay in Sanchi

Travelers can stay in the following places and hotels during their trip:
  • Sanchi Vandana Niketana
  • MP Tourism and Lodging
  • Gateway Retreat Hotel

What to purchase in Sanchi

Within the limits of the place, tourists can purchase maps for different tourist locations in Madhya Pradesh and writings. The Gateway Retreat Hotel has a shop named Alankar Handicrafts, which sells handmade sculpture of Sanchi Stupa and Gautama Buddha made from rock, sandstone, timber, and other substances. The hotel is a part of the hospitality division of Madhya Pradesh Tourism.

Last Updated on 3/27/2012