Sanchi India - visiting the Buddhist Monuments and Stupas.

Apart from looking at Sanchi's Buddhist Stupas you can also visit Udayagari Caves and then stop off at Vidisha Town if on a day trip from Bhopal.

Beautiful sculptures on the Torana - Great Stupa, Sanchi.

About Sanchi World Heritage Site, India.

Located around 46kms north-east of Bhopal in the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, the World Heritage Site at Sanchi features one of the oldest stone structures in India i.e. the Great Stupa and is an extremely important location for Buddhist pilgrims. The complex at Sanchi was founded by the Emperor Ashoka who reigned between 269 and 232 B.C. - it is thought the complex was built because Ashoka's wife came from nearbye Bidisha. Stupas were originally simple Buddhist burial grounds and were so designed because when Buddha was asked to leave a symbol of his teachings he placed a piece of cloth on the ground, turned his begging bowl upside down to create a dome and then placed his staff to make a spire. Over the centuries these stupas became larger and more elaborate often with beautiful carvings on their entry gates and walkways.
The entrance fee for non-Indians is a somewhat expensive 250 Rupees and the site is open from sunrise to sunset every day - there is a museum in the grounds and entry to this is included in the ticket price. There are toilets available on the site plus you can get a drink and snack at the small cafe. Most of the immediate area around the stupas is well paved, has grass areas and flower beds and everything is quite clean and tidy. Away from the Great Stupa there are paths which go round the ruins of various monasteries and temples - all that remains of these is mostly their low foundations.
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Great Stupa Carved south gate Great Stupa Northern Gateway Stupa1 East Torana Sanch Great Stupa Torana
Monastery 17 is in quite good condition - this Buddhist Temple is made from stone and dates from the 5th century AD (Gupta Dynasty) and has some nicely carved two-headed lions above the carved columns supporting the entrance hall.
Sanchi Torana sculpture The Great Stupa at Sanchi Stupa 2 at Sanchi in India. Sanchi Temple 17
Sanchi Temple 45 Sanchi Temple 45 Buddha sculptureNew Sri Lankan Temple Sanchi Stupa 2 is slightly away from the main area and involves walking along the path to the west of the Great Stupa but makes for a quite interesting stroll. First you go by an excellent large tank and also the 10th century monastery 51 ruins as you head down quite a few steps and then follow a fairly rough path to eventually reach the somewhat isolated 2nd century Stupa 2. This stupa is sat on a ledge and situated in a clearing surrounded by trees and there is also a small pond and stream nearbye - a quite pleasant peaceful place to sit on a nearbye rock for a while. The path does continue on past the stupa and then circles back to the ticket office.
Sanchi Monastery ruins Sanchi Monastery ruins Sanchi Tank Stupa 3 Sanchi

Visiting Udayagari Caves near Vidisha - Madhya Pradesh, India.

Note on some maps Udayagari is also spelt as Udaygiri The caves are located around 12kms from Sanchi and 4kms from Vidisha Town. The caves were an important Hindu ritual site and built and carved in the 5th century AD during the reign of the emperor of the Gupa Empire Chandragupta II The Great. The Bes River passes close by to the caves site and there is a very nice although small lake situated opposite the entrance gate.
Udayagari cave sculptures Udayagari Caves Vidisha Udayagari cave sculptures Udayagari Cave5 - Vishnu
Udayagari Caves - Vidisha Although noted as one of India's important archaeological sites the area seems to be in rather a poor condition and when visited the site we were informed that due to conditions underfoot and also cave collapses the area was pretty much closed. It is possible to go into the very first part of the caves area where there are several sculptures to look at including Cave 5 where there is an avatar of Vishnu i.e. in the form of a boar - which is in good condition. There was no entry fee at the time, the gate was closed and tied up with rope and there were no officials in attendance - as mentioned we believe the area may be pretty much closed. However subsequently we asked at the Bhopal tourist office and they said the place was fully open - so anybody's guess.

Vidisha Town Ghats State Highway19 crosses the nice bridge at Vidisha in India.The Betwa River at Vidisha Town in India.

Vidisha Town - Madhya Pradesh, India.

On the way back to Bhopal following the above visit to the stupas at Sanchi you could stop off at the small Indian town of Vidisha which is where the Betwa River and Bes River meet. The photos below are from where State Highway 19 enters to the north of the town by a very nicely arched bridge. The area round here has several ghats, lots of areas of water where the rivers have created small lake-areas - and there are several temples to look at including Charan Tirthe Temple.
Vidisha Temple in India. A pair of temples beside ghats at Vidisha Town. Charan Tirthe Temple at Vidisha, India. Really nice looking Vidisha Ghats in India.

Please also take a look at our Bhopal Touring and Travel Guide
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