Located 46 km to the north of Bhopal, Sanchi is a place that gives you a vivid glimpse of the entire gamut of Indian Buddhism. It is where King Ashoka gave shape to his newly acquired fervor for the religion. This led to the flowering of many stupas and Buddhist monuments in the place. These ancient remnants help one in understanding the inherent spirit of the religion and also get the picture of the genesis, efflorescence and collapse of Buddhist art and architecture. Apart from its plethora of attractions, Sanchi is also an important stopover for visiting other tourist attractions near the place. Get to know more about excursions from Sanchi in the article below.
The spurts of creative outpourings of the Guptas were legendary and
served as the hallmark of the dynasty. If you want to have a rich
glimpse of architectural legerdemain of the Guptas, just check out the
Udaigiri Caves of Madhya Pradesh.
Located 10 km to the south of Sanchi, Videsha was earlier known as
Besnagar and was an important township of the area. During 3rd century
BC, the place was governed by Ashoka. This legendary place was also home
to his wife. A trip to Videsha commands a visit to the Heliodoros
Pillar, of 5th AD, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, which marks the conversion
of the Greek Ambassador of Taxila to Hinduism. This monolithic
free-standing column is still considered holy by the local fisher folk
and known as 'Khamb Baba' amongst them.
23 km from Sanchi, en route to Bhopal; lays Raisen that borrows its
name from its massive fort that rests on a sandstone hill. The town is
cozily tucked at the foot of this hill. This hilltop fort goads tourists
to dive in its lap, with its colorful display of temples, cannons, three
palaces, forty wells and a huge tank. It was an important seat of
administration during the Hindu rule. Ancient murals that date back to
many centuries are also treasured in the nearby caves of the place.
41 km to the north-east of Sanchi rests this medieval place. It derives
its name from the big fair that was once the pride of the town and was
held every eleventh month of the year (Gyaras). Gyaraspur is one of the
must-visit tourist places near Sanchi. Though the place stands in a
dilapidated state today, it is still a striking treasure house of
ancient temples. 'Athkhamba' (Eight Pillars), 'Chaukhamba' (Six Pillars)
and Mahadev temple, which can be traced back to the 9th and 10th
centuries, are the prime attractions of the place.
The colossal Neelkantheswara Temple is the mark of Udaypur, located 60
km from Sanchi. This temple is a brilliant masterpiece that holds out
the exactitude of 11th century Paramara architecture. The
well-proportioned and gracefully done Shikhar (spire) and alluring
carvings that adorn it, bring to notice the exemplary temple
architecture of the period. Carved with red sandstone and elevated on a
lofty platform, the edifice consists of a Garbha Griha (shrine room), a
Sabha Mandap (Hall) and three Parvesh Mandaps (entrance porches).
Sonari and Satdhara
Sonari, 10 km to the southwest of Sanchi, is also a well-known monastic
site. It houses eight majestic stupas that are instantaneous tourist
delight. Likewise, the Buddhist complex at Satdhara is sited 11km to the
west of Sanchi, on the bank of the Beas River, and domiciles fourteen
monasteries and 34 stupas belonging to the Mauryan period. The most
notable is Stupa I, with its staggering height and broad
circumambulatory path around the base. The remains of many apsidal
temples are also found in the place.