Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist center in India until the 12th century A.D.
Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
One of the prominent heritage sites in India that is located approximately 45km from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, the Sanchi Stupa is regarded as the oldest stone structure in India. The construction work of this massive structure was commissioned by king Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC and was supervised by his wife.
The Sanchi Stupa was built as a simple hemispherical stone structure with a ‘chatra’ signifying to honor and shelter the relics of Buddha. Later, four decorated gateways were added surrounding the stupa.
The complex holds the famous sandstone pillar with having Ashokan inscription and an inscription in the ornamental Sankha Lipi from the Gupta period.
Further, several inscriptions and carved structures portray the Satavahana period and diverse studies conclude that the Sanchi Stupa was vandalized during the Sunga period and was rebuilt during the same era.