UiTV Search





The ancient buddhist heritage of India- Sanchi

Sanchi Stupa is best reserved monuments of Buddhism in India

Bhopal, (M.P.), May 28 (UITV): The town of Sanchi is inordinately filled with Buddhist Stupas - hemispherical formations consistently accomodated relics of the Buddha or his followers. The Stupas of Sanchi were erected on the orders of Emperor Ashoka to conserve and propagage the Buddhist philosophy. Sanchi has been protecting these mesmerizing and celestial architectural wonders, just the way these wonders have been shielding ancient history and art of the Mauryan period.

The numerous stupas, temples, monasteries and an Ashokan pillar have been the centre of interest and wponder for global audiences as well. In fact, UNESCO has given the status of 'World Heritage Site' to the Mahastupa.

The religious importance and value of a stupa

According to the MahaparinirvanaSutra(an ancient Buddhist text describing the last days of the Buddha), when Buddha passed away, his cremated remains were separated into eight parts by his followers (his disciples). Each of the eight kings then built a stupa to celebrate Buddha’s remains, consisting one part of the artefact too, buried inside the stupa.

When visiting a stupa, practitioners move around it in a clockwise direction to practice meditation. During the meditation time, practitioners centre deeply on the infinite cycle of rebirth (samsara). They walk the path of enlightenment seeking conclusive freedom from suffering. The meditation practice has been pursued in the early Buddhist tradition by clergy and laity, who worshipped stupas counting the relics buried in them, to attain spiritual merit. It was the same reason, of Buddhist relic-cult and its fame, which gives stupas much of its symbolic excellence.

It grew numerous in vogue during the reign of Emperor Ashoka. Today, stupas are not a just extensive symbol of Buddhist philosophy and notions of life but also, a emergence for its architectural prowess enlargement and strength.

causes behind Sanchi stupa construction

The Great Stupa in Sanchi, India, is said to be the premature known stupa, ordered in the third century BCE. A qualified Buddhist teacher is required to build a stupa, and Sanchi Stupa was built by none other than Emperor Ashoka, who charged himself with the commission of propagating the philosophy of Buddhist teachings after the dreadful war of Kalinga.

King Ashoka has been influnetial in constructing Stupas to enlarge the Buddhist world. replicating Buddhist scriptures, stated “With the wish of spreading the teachings of the Buddha, King Ashoka of India splitted the antiquity of Lord Buddha and erected 84,000 stupas to enshrine these valuable items of devotion.”

It is a world-prominent site acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. Sanchi Stupa is regarded as the best-preserved site among the ancient stupas of India.

During a visit here, a visitor can view the following sights:

The Four Gate Ways- these were built in 35 BC which showcase the Buddhist expression in enormity, unlike anywhere else. The four gateways or torans bring to life the Gautam Buddha life snippets. It is a complete walkthrough through the life of Lord Buddha and his earlier births.

The Ashoka Pillar- disbanded in the area are some broken Ashoka Pillars which hold a lot of symbolic value. The Ashoka Pillars were used by the King as edicts to impart knowledge about Buddhist scriptures and teachings. The Sanchi Pillar of Ashoka is at the epitome of Greco-Buddhist style, identified for its aesthetic value and perfect structural balance built. While the lower portion of the pillar is firmly grounded, its upper portion is under a canopy. It still has ornate spiral Brahmi characters embedded on it. They were inscribed during the Gupta period and the script resembled conch shells shape or described as ‘shell-script’ by scholars. The crown of these pillars has four lion’s depictions, adopted as the National Emblem of India.

Stupas – Sanchi Stupas were built on a hill-top for worship and religious purposes. It contained the relics of disciples of Buddha. These stupas have beautifully adorned wall designs and carvings.

The Museum- is maintained by the archaeological survey of India. It has preserved excavations of Sanchi area. There are utensils used by the monks who spent time in Sanchi. Its most prized possession is the lion crown (from Ashoka Pillar).