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Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India


A UNESCO world heritage site in central India near the Betwa River. On a flat-topped sandstone hill, 90m above the countryside, stands the best-preserved group of Buddhist monuments in India. Most noteworthy is the Great Stupa, discovered in 1818. It was probably begun by the emperor Aśoka in the mid-3rd century BCE and later enlarged. Solid throughout, it is enclosed by a massive stone railing pierced by four gateways on which are elaborate carvings depicting the life of the Buddha. The stupa itself consists of a base bearing a hemispherical dome representing the dome of heaven enclosing the Earth; it is surmounted by a squared rail unit, the world mountain, from which rises a mast to symbolize the cosmic axis. The mast bears umbrellas that represent the various heavens. Other remains include several smaller stupas, an assembly hall (caitya), an Aśokan pillar with inscription, and several monasteries (4th-11th cent. CE). Several relic baskets and more than 400 epigraphical records have also been discovered.  [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica; Aug 05]

Sanchi town

Northern gateway

Great Stupa, eastern gateway

Yakshi, eastern gateway


Eastern gateway


Southern gateway


Eastern gateway (reverse)


Pillar detail (1, 2, 3)


Western gateway


Western gateway


Western gateway (more)


Temples 17 and 40


Remains of another stupa


Monastery 51


More stupas


Green pond


Stupa 2 (1, 2)


Aboard Stupa 2


Stupa 2 sculpture


Stupa 2 sculpture (1, 2)


Stupa ruins


Sri Lankan visitors


Monasteries 45, 46, 47


Monasteries 45, 46, 47


Stupa 3 (more)


Maha Bodhi Society vihara


Inside the Vihara


The death of Buddha


Landscape


Transporting buffaloes


River


Landscape

       

 

 

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