Sanchi : on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, Built in 3rd century BC by Maurya dynasty emperor Great Ashok, 36.5 meters in diameter and almost 16.5 meters hieght stands tall with all the glory of its past. It’s one of the best Buddhist monument with epitome of craftsmanship, art and architecture I have ever seen.
Adorned with fine sculptures, intricate carvings and inscriptions, a 54 ft tall hemispherical dome containing a relics of Lord Budha is fine example of how advance our ancestors were in technology. Sanchi Stupas are the most organised and popular Buddhist Stupa.
This fascinating and world famous Stupa and other structures in Sanchi portraying brilliance of Buddhist art and sculpture and is the oldest stone structure in India.
The Great Stupa is surrounded by four fascinated gateways intricately carved toranas. The sculptures on the torans consist of decorative illustrations of events encompassing the life of Lord Buddha as elucidated in the tales of Jataka. It depicts the scenes of incarnation of Buddha as Bodhisattva has provided the principal inspiration for the sculptors.
The three ‘parasols,’ set one above the other along the shaft, are located in the uppermost region of Sanchi Stupa. They represent a heavenly hierarchy.
Sanchi has been a cultural hub of India. The complex at Sanchi houses several buildings belonging to Buddhists. Whilst the stupas are the main attraction there are temples and monasteries as well.
One such building is the Temple 45. It is located extreme eastern area where the temple still exists in the shape of ruins and is attached to the monastery.
Sanchi Gupta Temple no. 17
marks the genesis of temple Architecture in India. In Gupta architecture the square was considered the most perfect form and temples were designed to be appreciated from all sides. Guptas were the first dynasty to build permanent free-standing Hindu temples and so they began a long tradition of Indian temple architecture. The Gupta Dynasty, founded by Chandragupta I (accession c. 320 CE), ruled in North Central India between the 4th and 6th centuries CE and the period is considered a golden age of artistic accomplishment.
This elegant temple has a simple flat roofed chamber and a pillared porch at the entrance. Its simplicity is striking and there is a lot of restraint in its embellishment. This temple which heralds the beginning of Temple Architecture in India has stood the test of time standing intact with it glorious past marked by elegance, harmony, balance and dignity.
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Made of Chunar Sandstone this monolithic pillar has Interesting story…
How a single stone measuring 12.5 m and weighing nearly 25 tonnes was carried from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh to Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh over a distance of 800 km. The load a normal truck carries on modern tar road is from 5 to 7 tonnes . This Herculean task of transporting a pillar weighing 25 tonnes was accomplished 2300 years ago when there were no cranes and modern roads . Thousands of labourers might have worked day and night to bring this huge pillar, haul it to the top of the hill and then raise it to bring it to upright position. But what a strange irony of fate it was that a local Zamindar broke it to pieces to use it as a sugarcane press .
Sanchi, an UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous in the world for stupas, monolithic Asokan pillar, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth. It was from the Ashoka Pillar of Sanchi Stupa that the national emblem of India was derived. The Sanchi Stupa is more than a reliquary preserving the remains of Buddhist teachers and Buddhism. It shows the journey to enlightenment, explain how Buddha achieved enlightenment, freeing himself from the cycle of life and death.
बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि।
Buddham saranam gacchami
I go to the Buddha for refuge. मैं बुद्ध की शरण लेता हूँ।
धर्मं शरणं गच्छामि।
Dhammam saranam gacchami
I go to the Dhamma for refuge. मैं धर्म की शरण लेता हूँ।
संघं शरणं गच्छामि।
Sangham saranam gacchami
I go to the Sangha for refuge. मैं संघ की शरण लेता हूँ।