Whether a Buddhist by faith or not, Sanchi is a name that perhaps everyone must have heard of. Though Buddhism had its genesis in India, its message and philosophies reached far and wide. And today this system of beliefs has its adherents across the globe. Devotees, tourists, researchers and historians flock to Sanchi year after year to gain an insight into the way of life called Buddhism. Sanchi is an accumulation of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars. The site is mainly known for the stupa that was built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC. During the succeeding years that followed, more stupas, monasteries and temples were erected here. However, with the decline of Buddhism, Sanchi went into a state of oblivion. It was only in the year 1818 that a British officer rediscovered the site. Between 1912 and 1919, Sanchi was carefully restored to its present status by Sir John Marshall.
» ASI Museum : The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum is yet another big draw for tourists here. The museum displays numerous antiquities belonging to the Mauryan Period. The artifacts displayed also include a number of metal objects that were used by Buddhist monks in the past. Ancient sculptures dating back between the 3rd and the 1st century BC can also be viewed here.
» Toranas or Gateways : Erected in 35 BC, the four toranas or gateways are fine representation of the early Buddhist art. The gateways depict scenes from the life of Buddha. Some of the symbols on the toranas include Lord Buddha's birth, his being enlightened under the Bodhi Tree and even his footprints.
Besides exploring the ancient Buddhist art at Sanchi, you can also visit the nearby sites like Vidisha (12 km) and Udaigiri (13 km). These two sites are known for their ancient architectural legacy and are important historical site