Sanchi Stupa – Oldest Buddhist Stone Structure

Sanchi Stupa – Oldest Buddhist Stone Structure

It is one of the most important Buddhist monuments of all time and is said to be the oldest stone structure in India. Sanchi speaks of Buddhism and is a small village, located about 52 kilometers from Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). Sanchi is a famous tourist destination, in which innumerable Buddhist structures, pillars, and monasteries are seen.

Most of these monuments date back to the era between the 3rd and 12th centuries, and Sanchi is now listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Sanchi or Sancha in Hindi means ‘Moulds of Stones‘ and in Sanskrit, the word Sanch means ‘To Measure‘.

History of Sanchi Stupa



Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire was the initiator of all “stupas” in Sanchi. These stupas pay homage to Lord Buddha. Sanchi Stupa is made of a semi-circular rock, which we can also call a round dome. It is the most important and influential stupa of all the stupas.

This great monument was built on the basis of the relics of Lord Buddha. Sanchi is one of the famous places, which is not only recognized in India but today it is famous all over the world. This place has become a great center of Buddhism.

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The architecture of Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa from outside

The Sanchi Stupa is a huge semi-circular, dome-shaped chamber in which the remains of Lord Buddha are depicted calmly. It is constructed of brick, it dates back to the 3rd century A.D. This chamber is about 16.5 meters long and has a diameter of 36 meters.

Sanchi Stupa is said to be one of the most organized structures, it was decorated with stones in the medieval era. The structure and designs depict the nature of love and the historical period during the development of the stupa.

Sanchi Stupa Carving

The entrance has depicted architecture in the form of male and female trees which we find very fascinating to see. Buddhists believe that they welcome idols and are therefore a “good man” at the front.

The Sanchi Stupa has a rich heritage of architectural prestige. It is the most stunning stupa that has been stirring up a divine attraction for centuries. It is a holy place rich in reverence and peace.

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Sanchi Stupa – An Important Buddhist Center

Inside Boundary of Shanti Stupa


Sanchi Stupa is an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists, that shows the record of the origin of Buddhist architecture and culture. The Sanchi Stupa shows records of the origin of Buddhist architecture and culture, it is an ancient monument. Covering the entire range of Buddhism in India, it represents an amazing proof of various artistic works of Buddhist monks.

This place was made one of the important centers of Buddhism, which is worshiped not only by the Indian people but also by people all over the world. The foundation of this place was laid by Emperor Ashoka, and today it has become an important historical monument for India.

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The Monument Had To Be Restored

Sanchi Stupa Architecture

Buddism flourished from the Maurya to the Gupta period, but after this, the royal cult of Buddhism almost ended and the Hindu kings did no harm to Buddhist monuments. But when Muslims started attacking Madhya Pradesh came under their control, this great center of Buddhism was lost in Sanchi and thick shrubs and trees grew around Sanchi. It was in 1818 colonel Taylor unearthed the remains of Sanchi, which was in a very bad condition. Concerted attempts were made by the British government in India from the 1880s to preserve the ancient site of Sanchi. From 1912 to 1919 the Sanchi monument was repaired and restored to the present state.

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The Architecture Inside Tells A Fascinating Story

Sanchi Stupa Architecture

The inside of the stupa is predominantly Buddhist architecture and tells us a lot about the Mauryan, Satvanas, and the Shagunas. A lot can be learned about the history of these empires by studying interior architecture and inscriptions.

It was Emperor Asoka who put the foundations of a religious center at Sanchi, probably chosen because of his Queen Devi, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha who belongs there.

In the 1st century BCE, four elaborately carved toranas and a balustrade encircling the entire structure were added. The Sanchi Stupa built during the Mauryan period was made of bricks. The composite flourished until the 11th century. Sanchi is the center of a region with a number of stupas, all within a few miles of Sanchi, including Satdhara, Bhojpur, and Andher, as well as Sonari.

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Sanchi Stupa is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

Sanchi stupa nameplate

In 1989 Sanchi Stupa was given the status of the World Heritage site by UNESCO. The management and preservation of the entire site is under the Archaeological Survey of India department.

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Sanchi Stupa motif is a feature on new Rs 200 note

Rs 200 note

Sanchi Stupa is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. It was the birthplace as well as the venue for the Ashoka wedding. The Sanchi Stupa motif is part of the 17 features on the new Rs 200 note on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage.

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Bhopal Sanchi Highway

Tropic of Cancer in Bhopal Sanchi

Tropic of Cancer also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith. Two parallel strips of white paint across the road showed the exact latitude: 23 degrees 26 minutes North (approx). The signboard, as is the case with all monuments in India, was defaced by random people.

How to reach Sanchi Stupa

Pillar of sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa is located near Bhopal city of Madhya Pradesh, which is very well connected to various other cities of the country in terms of traffic, be it rail, road or air transport.

The availability of private transport has increased due to the increasing demand of people wishing to enjoy the beauty of the place. Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose any mode of transportation to reach Bhopal.

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Best time to visit Best time to Visit

Bhopal’s weather remains hot all year round, yet, avoid traveling during the summer months. The best time to visit Sanchi Stupa is from November to March. Also, it is the time when most festivals are held here.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.