Top ChoiceBuddhist Monument in Sanchi

Buddhist Monuments

Emperor Ashoka's 3rd-century BC Great Stupa, and many other stupas, temples, pillars, gateways and monasteries built in succeeding centuries, stand at the top of Monuments Rd, with the ticket office near the...

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Southern Gateway

The back-to-back lions on the pillars of the monuments compound's Southern Gateway (the oldest) were a favourite Ashokan motif and now form the state emblem of India, which can be seen on every banknote. The...

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Eastern Gateway

The breathtakingly carved figure of a yakshi (mythical fairylike beings), hanging from an architrave on the Eastern Gateway, is one of Sanchi’s best-known images. The middle architrave depicts the Great...

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Northern Gateway

The Northern Gateway, topped by a broken wheel of law, is the best preserved of the toranas. Elephants support the architraves above the columns, while delicately carved yakshis (mythical fairylike beings) hang...

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Western Gateway

Pot-bellied dwarves support the architraves of the Western Gateway, which has some of the site’s most interesting scenes. The back of the bottom architrave and the south pillar's north-face top panel both show...

Buddhist Stupa in Sanchi

Great Stupa

Beautifully proportioned, the Great Stupa is the centrepiece of the monumental area, directly ahead as you enter the complex from the north. Originally constructed by Ashoka, it was enlarged a century later and...

Museum in Sanchi

Archaeological Museum

This fine museum has a small collection of sculptures from the site. The centrepiece is the 3rd-century-BC lions-on-lotus capital from the Ashoka-era Pillar 10. Other highlights include a yakshi (mythical...

Buddhist Stupa in Sanchi

Stupa 3

Stupa 3 is northeast of the Great Stupa and similar in design, though smaller, with a single, rather fine gateway. It dates from the 2nd century BC and once contained relics of two important disciples of the...

Buddhist Stupa in Sanchi

Stupa 2

Stupa 2 is halfway down the hill to the west (turn right at Stupa 1). Instead of gateways, ‘medallions’ of flowers, plants, real and fanciful animals, people and demigods decorate the surrounding wall – naive in...

Buddhist Temple in Sanchi

Chetiyagiri Vihara

The vihara (literally 'resting place'), just outside the monuments compound, was built to house relics of the Buddha's disciples Sariputta and Moggallana, following their return from Britain in 1952.

Historic Building in Sanchi

Sir John Marshall Memorial

The preserved Gothic-style 'bungalow' of Sir John Marshall, director of the Archaeological Survey of India, who led the excavation and restoration of Sanchi between 1912 and 1919 and stayed here from 1912 to...

Buddhist Temple in Sanchi

Temple 31

The rectangular Temple 31 was built in the 6th or 7th century, but reconstructed during the 10th or 11th century. It contains a well-executed image of Buddha, which may have been moved here from another temple...

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Pillar 10

Of the scattered pillar remains, the most important is Pillar 10, erected by Ashoka but later broken. Two upper sections of this beautifully proportioned and executed shaft lie behind the Great Stupa; its capital...

Buddhist Temple in Sanchi

Temple 18

Temple 18 is a chaitya (prayer room or assembly hall) similar in appearance to classical Greek columned buildings. It dates from around the 7th century AD, but traces of earlier wooden buildings have been...

Buddhist Monastery in Sanchi

Monasteries 45 & 47

Monasteries 45 and 47, standing on the eastern ridge of the monuments site, date from the transition from Buddhism to Hinduism, with strong Hindu elements in their design. The former has two exceptional sitting...

Buddhist Monastery in Sanchi

Monastery 51

Monastery 51 sits a short way downhill west of the Great Stupa, beside a tank. Outside its west gate is the Great Bowl, carved from a boulder, into which food and offerings were placed for distribution to the monks.

Buddhist Stupa in Sanchi

Stupa 5

Between the Great Stupa and Stupa 3 is the small Stupa 5, unusual in that it once contained a statue of Buddha, now displayed in the Archaeological Museum.

Buddhist Temple in Sanchi

Temple 17

Like its larger neighbour Temple 18, the Gupta-period Temple 17 bears a resemblance to classical Greek buildings. The columns on its porch are topped by fine lion-and-tree capitals.

Monument in Sanchi

Great Bowl

Behind Monastery 51, partway down the hill towards Stupa 2, is the Great Bowl, carved from a huge boulder, into which food and offerings were placed for distribution to the monks.

Buddhist Monument in Sanchi

Pillar 35

Pillar 35 (northwest of the Great Stupa) dates from the 5th century AD. Its capital, with a figure of the Bodhisattva Vajrapani, is in the Archaeological Museum.