Sanchi: The unexplored India

This is a guest blog shared by Karishma Mayur about her discoveries in Central India, who also blogs here.

Have you ever wanted to read stories not off books but of beautifully carved stone pillars? Have you ever wanted to travel 2000 years back in time? Have you ever wanted to be at a place from where a great world religion spread? I wanted to and I did this by visiting the Sanchi Stupa situated in Madhya Pradesh. The Stupa was built by Ashoka in 3rd century BC and it contains the ashes of Lord Buddha. As I entered the premises, a very colorful tree welcomed me. The tree was covered with Buddhist prayer flags. These flags are believed to carry their positive energy with the wind and are known to bring harmony in people’s lives.

tree
The colorful tree

Surrounded by stone structures all around stands Lord Buddha’s Stupa .It has four beautifully carved gateways which depict the Jatak Kathay (A must read if you already haven’t).The gateways are so intricately sculpted that one can identify emotions, mood of the scene and even the ethnicity of people. From the tale of monkey who sacrifices for his clan to the story of how Siddhartha became Buddha, from the scene depicting foretelling of Buddha’s birth to the one where the young prince gives away all his wealth, these pillars will tell you all the stories.

stupa1
Stupa 1
stonegateway
The intricately carved stone gateway

Engraved on the pillars is also the Brahmi script. It is amusing how even after all these years the inscriptions remain so legible.

bramhiscript
Bramhi script

After seeing the main Stupa I trekked down to see the monastery built by Ashoka for the monks who practiced here. It is so easy to imagine hundreds of monks going about their daily activities, meditating below a banyan tree, bathing in a nearby lake and eating off the giant Bhikshuk bowl.

monastery
Remains of the monastery

A little further is a smaller Stupa which contains the ashes of two genius disciples of Buddha. I went around the Stupa and could see vast expanse of fields, the entire city of Vidisha and a train going in the distance. Standing at the stone stupa that was built around 3000 years ago, I actually felt like staring into the future.

vast-expanse-of-land-visible-from-stupa
Vast expanse of land visible from Stupa

Travel tips

#Sanchi is situated very close to Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal is easily accessible by air, road and rail transport.

#When you come to Sanchi don’t forget to take a travel guide (human or in form of a book) to uncover the wonderful mysteries that this place has to tell.

#There Madhya Pradesh tourism offers a wonderful accommodation option in Sanchi. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous there is also the jungle resort situated at an hours distance from Sanchi, right behind the Udaygiri caves. Alternatively, you could make Bhopal your hub which has a number of high quality accommodation spots.

Visiting Sanchi was a wonderful experience for me. It made me realize how great civilizations have been nothing but a blip in the time of the universe, but then again it also made me realize that these civilizations stay alive long after they are gone through their thoughts, their wisdom and their culture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s