Sanchi stupa

Sanchi Stupa: The glimpse of Buddhism

Sometimes all you wish is for a peaceful mind. There are times when you feel like you are stuck into a problem or you are feeling depressed. Then what all you seek is a moment of sheer bliss. A moment where you unlock yourself and find all the answers to your questions. One way of doing it is by having short excursions or a nice holiday trip. Sometimes these short excursion can lead you to an era of wisdom and enlightenment. These will make you feel spiritual and can re-energize your soul.

One such destination is UNESCO World Heritage center “Sanchi” of Madhya Pradesh. It is the destination which is not only a spiritual appeaser, it is also a combination of both Buddhist and Hindu spirituality. But before sharing my experience, I’ll tell you the exact feeling I was going through.

The feeling I was going through…

I was living in Bhopal for a month and I am still searching myself into studies and travel. My life seemed to be in a chaotic jumble. I was going through many ups and downs in life, dealing with difficult situations. There had been lots of questions banging my head. I was totally out of peace and feeling reckless. Even as a traveler-blogger I should not feel like that. Hence I had to find out the answers to those questions.

Like most of the people tries to find out their answers in activities like reading books, meeting gurus and visiting temples. In similar manner, my inner peace lies in traveling and photography. Therefore I chose to travel a “less traveled Buddhist destination – Sanchi”.

Historic heritage: Sanchi stupa No. 3

But before let’s go through the words that elucidate India and spirituality.

Temples: The purest form of India

India is a diverse country where faith, religion, belief and spirituality play a remarkable role. The question normally arises; “what is the main source of trust/faith and peace among Indians?” I’ll say, the answer lies in the purest form – temple (irrespective of any religion). In actual sense, temples are the door to spirituality and devotees are willing to go out of their comfort zone to explore them. Also, various cultures and religions had originated and flourished in India over the years. Hence, the presence of mystic spirituality in these temples has always attracted people from across the world. And if you are traveling to India, your trip will remain incomplete if you are not visiting any temple.

Typically, the temples of India have majorly seen into religions of all kinds. So, India is considered as a divine destination for all kind of people. That’s why on 1st June 2017, I had decided to visit this splendid Buddhist destination.

Main Sanchi stupa: No. 1

Sanchi – UNESCO World Heritage Site

The novelty of Buddhism is that it is considered as world religion and I’ll say, “India is regarded as the most important Buddhist destination”. More-over, the good thing is that India is blessed with numerous monasteries and stupas. For this reason, India is contemplated as “the purest land” for Buddhists. However, in India, Buddhism is in declining phase but the preaching of Buddha are still found in many states. States like Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh region have Buddhism ethnicity. Also, beside these worldly destinations, there are places which are less known but have same devotion. One of such destination is “The jewel of Madhya Pradesh – Sanchi”. It is ironic to say that nobody has ever realized what is hidden in this mystic land.

Sanchi is a small town situated near Bhopal (40km), the capital of M.P. Bhopal is well connected with rest of India, hence it become easy to visit Sanchi. Year after year, the ancient stupas and monasteries has increased the viewership in Sanchi. But still it can be considered as less traveled destination. For those who have faith in god and love sheer craftsmanship, Sanchi is the best destination.

sanchi stupa
Entrance path to great stupas
sanchi stupa
Sanchi stupa 1

However, it is quite notable, Lord Buddha had actually never visited Sanchi even once. There is no actual relic of Buddha. Then what makes Sanchi so famous? Or how meticulously the stupas and Buddhist monuments are detailed here? To find the answers, I had gone through the glorious history of Sanchi.

Glorious history of Sanchi

Sanchi is one of the famous destination of Buddhist shrine. Previously Sanchi is known as Kakanaya or Kakanadabota. Sanchi has the presence of remarkable Buddhist art and architecture flourishing right from early Mauryan period. Factually, the great emperor Ashoka had laid the foundation of Sanchi and stupas in 3rd century BC. Sanchi has got stupas, monalithic Ashoka Pillar, Gupta temple and monasteries. Therefore, Sanchi has become a symbol of Buddha and symbol of The great Emperor Ashoka.

Probably, the decline of Buddhism in India has made Sanchi as a sacred destination. And now it is categories as one of the UNESCO World Heritage center. It is also Known to have one of the oldest Buddhist sanctuary of the time.

Sanchi stupa
Co-existence between Buddhism and Hinduism
Stupa 3 with the ruined or destroyed structures

Sanchi stupa: The engineering marvel

From the architecture point of view, stupas and temples are mystical. Its intricate carved gateways and tranquil environment has been preserved and maintained for years. The stupa has chattri (umbrella), followed by harmika, domb, mehdi, walls and torana. The shape of domb is giant hemisphere. The stupa is surrounded by 4 gaint gateways and pillars. These pillars are arranged so flawlessly that they form the cardinal points of compass. Hence, I can say that there is perfect combination of cosmic waves with the stupa. Beside the stupas, there are gardens where you can sit, relax and admire surrounding.

Sanchi stupa
The process of making Torana written in Hindi language

Also, over the years, this legendary hub of Buddhism has undergone different circumstances. It has undergone expansion, destruction and again reconstruction. And now finally Sanchi is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The remains of temples and stupas are still found on the site.

Sanchi stupa
Ruins and remains of stupas

Therefore, Sanchi has hold the greatest fascination for visitors. If you are traveling to Sanchi and if ask me what are the things to see after-all: then there is a list.

So, just follow me through the photographic journey…

Sanchi stupa
Garden aesthetics of Sanchi stupa 3
Statue of meditating Buddha as you enter the main stupa
Sanchi stupa
Decorated doorways and staircase to Stupas
Sanchi stupa
Torana around all stupas
Sanchi Stupa
Sunga Ballustade (decorated gateway)

Don’t miss India’s sizzling Buddhist destination: Amazing things to do in Sikkim.

Sanchi stupa
Hindu temple in the premises of Sanchi stupa
Temple no. 18 built by Maurya dynasty

These are some of glimpse of Sanchi and stupas. I’m not going too say much on it now. I’ll say, you should visit Sanchi stupa atleast once in your life. It is so inspiring and its beauty is spell-bounding.

Sanchi stupa
That Chameleon looks furious: Portrait
Sanchi stupa
Squirrels playing with each other: Catch me if you can

I clicked almost every moment at Sanchi. Finally I sat on the garden ground and thought about myself. After spending 3-4 hours here, I finally realize many things about me and the nature. What a peaceful and adorable destination it is!!! Now situations are getting in my control.

Sanchi stupa
Chetiyagiri Vihara has relics of Buddha

Finally my visit to stupa was complete and now one more thing is left: Archaeological museum. I’ll cover it in my next blog along with one rough adventurous destination which I came across during this trip.

Sanchi is definitely a delightful and soothing experience. This mystical charm of Buddhism and Indian culture had shown a holistic way of living. Now probably I can say that Sanchi displays the co-existance of both Hinduism and Buddhism together. I’m able to concentrate on my Nikon and on myself. Seriously Sanchi is the destinations at needs attention. I’ll keep on coming here again and again.

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  1. Kaustubh Kalla

    Very nice article Prateek! Makes me want to book my ticket right now and visit these historic and spiritual places.


  2. Ana De-Jesus

    I agree that India really is a spiritual hub made up of many different religions. Sanchi was beautiful and it was interesting to have photographic insight into the ruins and temples.


    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot Ana for liking these photographic insight!!


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