The Sanchi Stupa: Facts at a Glance
Sanchi is a hot spot for Buddhist tourist in India. It is situated at Sanchi in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. The glorious Stupa at Sanchi is the oldest stone composition in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka, the Great in the 3rd century BCE. The stupa is located on a hill whose height is 91 m (298.48 ft.) Over this scattered hill splendidly stood the main stupa with an excellent height of 71 ft (21.64 m) from the ground level to the original chatravali. Sanchi tagged as the World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1989.
Sanchi, popularly known as Kakanaya, Kakanadabota and Bota-Sriparvata in ancient times, has a singular distinction of having remarkable replica of Buddhist art and architecture right from the early Mauryan period (c. third century BC to twelfth century AD). Sanchi is known for Stupas in the whole world, monolithic Asokan pillar, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth are other point of attraction.
Pictures of Sanchi Stupas:
(The Great Stupa at Sanchi)
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Fifteen Interesting facts about Sanchi are given below:
- It was Emperor Asoka who put the foundations of a religious centre at Sanchi, probably chosen because of his Queen Devi, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha belongs to there.
- Since the 14th century sanchi remained deserted and undiscovered till 1818 when General Taylor rediscovered the site. Sir John Marshall established an archaeological museum in 1919, which was later converted into the present site museum at Sanchi.
- The pillar has an Ashokan inscription (Schism Edict) and an inscription in the ornamental Sankha Lipi from the Gupta period.
- The Great Stupa at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India.
- Stupa no. 1, or the 'Great Stupa' is the principal monument.
- It is believed that the sanchi stupa is housing the relics of Buddha.
- Sanchi, especially Stupa 1, has a large number of Brahmi inscriptions.
- It is 36.5 m in diameter and rises almost 21.64 meters high.
- when emperor Ashoka once accepted Buddhism, he built his first “stupa” at Sanchi and later several more, as well as other religious structures.
- This place possesses a historical importance even though the Buddha has never visited the place (sanchi).
- Sanchi was built as the Buddhist studies and learning centre.
- The most famous Ashoka pillar, which contains four lions like that of Sarnath is found in Sanchi as well and these are constructed in a Greco-Buddhist style.
- The Stupa symbolized Buddha and finally it became a symbol of his final release from the cycle of birth and rebirth - the Parinirvana or the ‘Final Dying.’
- Sanchi Stupa gone through restoration work between 1912 and 1919, under the supervision of Sir John Marshall.
- It became world heritage site in 1989.
Image courtesy: www.bhavyaholidays.com
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