Located on the foot of a hill-- Sanchi is just 46 kms. from Bhopal. It is more of a village than a town. Sanchi is a religious place with historical and archaeological significance. Sanchi is known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The place is related to Buddhism but not directly to the life of Buddha. It is more related to Ashoka than to Buddha. Ashoka built the first Stupa and put up many pillars here. The crown of famous Ashoka pillars, with four lions standing back to back, has been adopted as the national emblem of India.
Sanchi adopted Buddhism, which replaced the prominent Hinduism. But time took its toll and slowly both the Stupas and the place was forgotten. In 1818 Sanchi was rediscovered and gradually historical and the religious significance of the place was recognized. Restoration work of the Stupas started in 1881 and finally between 1912 and 1919 these were carefully repaired and restored. It was accepted that the structure at Sanchi were the most organized construction which went into the engineering of temples in the medieval period. The carvings here are done with the precision of Jewellers.
Despite the damage and restoration work done Sanchi is the most evocative and attractive Buddhist site in India. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the gorgeous gateways add grace to the place. These gateways are beautifully carved and carry scenes from the life of Buddha or Ashoka. These gateways are the finest specimens of early classical art, which formed the seedbed of entire vocabulary of later Indian art. The images carved on the pillars and the Stupas tell moving stories of the incidents from the life of Buddha.