Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

These monuments are a day trip out from the Bhopal, the infamous industrial accident city. I got there by overnight train, on a waitlisted ticket that turned into an actual ticket only a few hours before departure, which was exciting (my back-up plan involved a lot of buses).

Sanchi - Great Stupa

Sanchi – Great Stupa

There is actually another World Heritage site in the area, called the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, which is a group of rock paintings from the Mesolithic period onwards. But I decided to give those a miss.

Sanchi - Great Stupa gateway

Sanchi – Great Stupa gateway

Sanchi is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence, having been occupied from the 3rd century BC, and the Great Stupa dates from this period, although it was enlarged over the next two centuries. It is  the oldest stone structure in India, according to a source cited on Wikipedia.

Sanchi - remains of a monastery

Sanchi – remains of a monastery (or perhaps a palace)

Later monuments were built up until the 12th century AD, when the site was abandoned. It was ‘rediscovered’ by the British in the early nineteenth century and restored to its current magnificent condition in the twentieth.

Sanchi - Great Stupa gateway carving

Sanchi – Great Stupa gateway carving

What makes this site particularly wonderful are the fabulous carved stone gateways; four around the Great Stupa and one by a smaller stupa. They are covered with scenes depicting the lives of the Buddha and other legends and despite being stone, replicate the structure of wooden ones.

Sanchi - Great Stupa gateway carving

Sanchi – Great Stupa gateway carving

This was another site where tourists, particularly lone ones like me, were not in abundance, leading to rather a lot of requests to take my photograph from other visitors. I still find it bewildering that for some people I seemed to be the most interesting thing there; I gazed at the monuments whilst trying to ignore them gazing at me.

Sanchi - Great Stupa gateway carving

Sanchi – Great Stupa gateway carving

For the Lego model, I went with stupa number 3, the one with a single carved gateway.

Sanchi - stupa 3

Sanchi – stupa 3

I’ve cunningly built it as viewed from behind, to avoid dealing with the curved steps on the other side. It’s not that impressive, sorry.

Lego Sanchi

Lego Sanchi

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2 Responses to Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

  1. Lindsay says:

    Hi- hope you are traveling well. This is an exceptionally beautiful site and one I would love to see in real life. Be safe and happy,
    Lindsay.

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