I had known about Sanchi for a long time and was happy that I would be able to visit it. On 12 th Jun we left Bhopal at 0830. Took Vidisha road. Stopped en-route for breakfast and reached Sanchi at about 1045 hrs. The road was good though not of Golden Quadrilateral type.
After taking a ticket of Rs 10 per person (which I guess doubles as ticket to Museum next to ticket counter and considered good, closed on Friday, day of our visit) we went up a small hill till the parking. As we walked in from parking through the complex gate, here it was, the famous site of Sanchi Stupa.
We had seen the stupas in many photos, they were covered in school books too but the grandeur was beyond imagination. Once inside, we headed for Stupa 1, the main stupa constructed by Samrata Ashok the Great in 3rd century BC to retain some part of Ashes of Lord Gautam Buddha. Originally it is said to have been built by bricks. It was fortified by stone structure during Sunga dynasty in 2 century BC. Many other stupas, Viharas and Buddhist temples are there in this complex.
The circular enclosure and the ceremonial gateways (four, each in each direction) were made by Satvahana Kings. They are inscribed with carvings depicting Jatak Kathas (Stories from the life of Lord Buddha). In fact it may be worth while to read Jatak Kathas on the net prior visiting Sanchi to enjoy the gateways more.
The Stupa II and III were also constructed during same period. They contained relics of disciples of Gautam Buddha. Stupa II was opened by British and the relics were taken to UK as personal Trophies. Later they were returned to Srilanka and finally to India. They are now at Sanchi at a different newly constructed temple just outside this site.
Stupa I has a stairway within its circular enclosure to climb up to second level to do Pradakshina of the Stupa. Well there is no entrance into the hemispherical stupa as the relics of Buddha are totally enclosed but the sight itself is worth visit.
The Sarnath complex has three stupas, Many Viharas and many temples. The Ceremonial gateways of the stupa I are magnificent. In the radius of few Km there are few more buddhist sites but Sarnath is main one. Let me allow the my photographs to do the balance talking about Sanchi. One can see Ashoka Lions (the national emblem) also on one of the ceremonial gateways.
The beautiful carvings of Jatak Kathas are on the Gateways. As for Stupa their beauty is in the symmetry and its looks. See some of the carvings on various gates below:-
There are also ruins of Viharas and Buddha Temples
As for the place itself, it is well kept. Modern toilets are available.
These Pigeons when offered grains, eat out of your hands giving you a feeling of being in Jurong Bird Park in Singapore without spending that kind of money (and of course not the variety of birds though).
See the video
Sanchi is a must visit place. You must visit it definitely if you are at Bhopal as Sanchi is worth the effort.