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Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
As an important Buddhist center in India, Sanchi is situated about 68 km from north of Bhopal on a hill rising from the plains. It is a small village in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh and it is well known for many stupas, monasteries, pillars and temples dating from 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. Sachi Stupa is the main tourist attraction which was built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjain. His son Mahindra and Sanghamitra were born in Ujjaini and sent to Sri Lanka where they converted the King, Queen and the local people to Buddhism.

UNESCO designated the stupas of Sanchi in the year 1989 as the world heritage site for its archeological and historical importance. The main attractions in Sanchi include Great Stupa no.1, Stupa no.2, Stupa no.3, The Eastern Gateway, The Western Gateway, The Northern Gateway, The Southern Gateway, The Ashoka Pillar, The Buddhist Vihara, The Great Bowl, The Gupta temple, Vidisha and The ASI Museum. The Stupas, Chaityas, Temples, Monasteries and the Gateways are all decorated by delicate carvings depicting the life and teaching of Buddha. Sanchi is almost as sacred spot as Bodh Gaya or Sarnath for Buddhists all over the world. Buddhists from all over the world assemble here to celebrate the triple anniversary of Gautam Buddha's birth, enlightenment and Parinirvana on Buddha Purnima (full moon), which usually falls in April/May according to the lunar calendar.

The best time to visit Sanchi is in the months from October to March. Accommodation is not a problem here as there are provisions of hotels in Sanchi ranging from luxury to economy and one can stay at the government lodges also.