Northern Gateway

Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh

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 nonchalantly on each side. Scenes include a monkey offering a bowl of honey to the Buddha, who is represented by a bodhi tree (western pillar, east face, second panel down).

Three panels on the front of the eastern pillar depict the Miracle of Sravasti, in which Buddha caused a mango tree to grow (top panel), preached beneath it (second panel) and ascended a road into the air in the form of a bodhi tree (third panel). The fourth panel shows King Prasenajit of Sravasti coming out to meet the Buddha.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh attractions

1. Pillar 35

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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…

2. Great Stupa

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Beautifully proportioned, the Great Stupa is the centrepiece of the monumental area, directly ahead as you enter the complex from the north. Originally…

3. Stupa 5

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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.

4. Eastern Gateway

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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…

5. Western Gateway

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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…

6. Pillar 10

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Of the scattered pillar remains, the most important is Pillar 10, erected by Ashoka but later broken. Two upper sections of this beautifully proportioned…

7. Southern Gateway

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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…

8. Stupa 3

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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…