Sanchi Stupa

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Sanchi

Sanchi , a small and quaint town, is located 45 kilometers away from Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh . Though Buddha never visited this place, it is still considered to be one of the most important Buddhist center in India. A Stupa erected in this village during 5th century BC, is one of the most famous stupas for Buddhists. A Stupa is a dome shaped structure worshipped as Buddhist shrine.  Normally it contains sacred relics associated with Buddha or other saintly persons.

In the fifth century, when Buddha left his body, his devotees erected eight stupas to keep the relics of Buddha safe.  One of these Stupa was erected in Sanchi.  In the third century BC, Emperor Asoka reopened these stupas and divided the relics into 84000 parts and kept it in a number of stupas he built all over the country.

When you enter the Stupa at Sanchi, there are four gateways which welcome you. These elaborately carved gateways were built during the rule of Satavahanas. The southern gateway  has got carvings  depicting  the birth of Buddha. The Eastern gateway depicts the young prince Sidhartha leaving the palace, renouncing the worldly life to seek enlightenment.  The Western gateway depicts seven incarnations of the Buddha, four represented by trees and the other three by stupas.  Sanchi faded into oblivion from the fourteenth century until it was discovered in 1818.

A flag with Panchsheel principles promoted by Jawaharlal Nehru flutters over a Buddhist temple maintained by Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka near the Stupa.

Sanchi is located on the rail route connecting Delhi with Kanyakukmari.  Railway station of Sanchi has got a unique sign board written in Pali-Prakrit, an ancient language of Ashokan inscription.

Sanchi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and will soon have an international university for Buddhist and Indic studies.

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