Sanchi Stupa written Sanci, is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located in 46 kilometres north-east of capital of Madhya Pradesh; the Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structures in India, an important monument of Indian Architecture. It was commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 2nd century BCE, its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chhatri, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, intended to honour and shelter the relics; the original construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of nearby Vidisha. Sanchi was her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka's wedding. In the 1st century BCE, four elaborately carved toranas and a balustrade encircling the entire structure were added; the Sanchi Stupa built during Mauryan period was made of bricks.
The composite flourished until the 11th century. Sanchi is the center of a region with a number of stupas, all within a few miles of Sanchi, including Satdhara and Andher, as well as Sonari. Further south, about 100 km away, is Saru Maru. Bharhut is 300 km to the northeast; the "Great Stupa" at Sanchi is the oldest structure and was commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Empire in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha, with a raised terrace encompassing its base, a railing and stone umbrella on the summit, the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolizing high rank; the original Stupa only had about half the diameter of today's stupa, the result of enlargement by the Sungas. It was covered in contrast to the stones that now cover it. According to one version of the Mahavamsa, the Buddhist chronicle of Sri Lanka, Ashoka was connected to the region of Sanchi; when he was heir-apparent and was journeying as Viceroy to Ujjain, he is said to have halted at Vidisha, there married the daughter of a local banker.
She was called Devi and gave Ashoka two sons and Mahendra, a daughter Sanghamitta. After Ashoka's accession, Mahendra headed a Buddhist mission, sent under the auspices of the Emperor, to Sri Lanka, that before setting out to the island he visited his mother at Chetiyagiri near Vidisa, thought to be Sanchi, he was lodged there in a sumptuous vihdra or monastery, which she herself is said to have had erected. A pillar of finely polished sandstone, one of the Pillars of Ashoka, was erected on the side of the main Torana gateway; the bottom part of the pillar still stands. The upper parts of the pillar are at the nearby Sanchi Archaeological Museum; the capital consists in four lions, which supported a Wheel of Law, as suggested by illustrations among the Sanchi reliefs. The pillar has an Ashokan inscription and an inscription in the ornamental Sankha Lipi from the Gupta period; the Ashokan inscription is engraved in early Brahmi characters. It is much damaged, but the commands it contains appear to be the same as those recorded in the Sarnath and Kausambi edicts, which together form the three known instances of Ashoka's "Schism Edict".
It relates to the penalties for schism in the Buddhist sangha: "... path is prescribed both for the monks and for the nuns. As long as sons and great-grandsons as long as the Moon and the Sun, the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. For what is my desire? That the Sangha may be united and may long endure." The pillar, when intact, was about 42 feet in height and consisted of a round and tapering monolithic shaft, with bell-shaped capital surmounted by an abacus and a crowning ornament of four lions, set back to back, the whole finely finished and polished to a remarkable luster from top to bottom. The abacus is adorned with four flame palmette designs separated one from the other by pairs of geese, symbolical of the flock of the Buddha's disciples; the lions from the summit, though now quite disfigured, still testify to the skills of the sculptors. The sandstone out of which the pillar is carved came from the quarries of Chunar several hundred miles away, implying that the builders were able to transport a block of stone over forty feet in length and weighing as many tons over such a distance.
They used water transport, using rafts during the rainy season up the Ganges and Betwa rivers. Another structure, dated, at least to the 3rd century BCE, is the so-called Temple 40, one of the first instances of free-standing temples in India. Temple 40 has remains of three different periods, the earliest period dating to the Maurya age, which makes it contemporary to the creation of the Great Stupa. An inscription suggests it might have been established by Bindusara, the father of Ashoka; the original 3rd century BCE temple was built on a high rectangular stone platform, 26.52x14x3.35 metres, with two flights of stairs to the east and the west. It was an apsidal hall made of timber, it was burnt down sometime in the 2nd century BCE. The platform was enlarged to 41.76x27.74 metres and re-used to erect a pillared hall with fifty columns of wh
Pillars of Ashoka
The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the Indian subcontinent, erected or at least inscribed with edicts by the Mauryan king Ashoka during his reign from c. 268 to 232 BC. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma thaṃbhā; these pillars constitute important monuments of the architecture of India, most of them exhibiting the characteristic Mauryan polish. Of the pillars erected by Ashoka, twenty still survive including those with inscriptions of his edicts. Only a few with animal capitals survive. Two pillars were relocated by Firuz Shah Tughlaq to Delhi. Several pillars were relocated by Mughal Empire rulers, the animal capitals being removed. Averaging between 12 and 15 m in height, weighing up to 50 tons each, the pillars were dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected; the pillars of Ashoka are among the earliest known stone sculptural remains from India. Only another pillar fragment, the Pataliputra capital, is from a earlier date, it is thought that before the 3rd century BC, wood rather than stone was used as the main material for India architectural constructions, that stone may have been adopted following interaction with the Persians and the Greeks.
A graphic representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka from the column there was adopted as the official Emblem of India in 1950. All the pillars of Ashoka were built at Buddhist monasteries, many important sites from the life of the Buddha and places of pilgrimage; some of the columns carry inscriptions addressed to the nuns. Some were erected to commemorate visits by Ashoka. Ashoka ascended to the throne in 269 BC inheriting the Mauryan empire founded by his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya. Ashoka was reputedly a tyrant at the outset of his reign. Eight years after his accession he campaigned in Kalinga where in his own words, "a hundred and fifty thousand people were deported, a hundred thousand were killed and as many as that perished..." As he explains in his edicts, after this event Ashoka converted to Buddhism in remorse for the loss of life. Buddhism did not become a state religion but with Ashoka's support it spread rapidly; the inscriptions on the pillars set out edicts about morality based on Buddhist tenets.
The traditional idea that all were quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi and taken to their sites, before or after carving, "can no longer be confidently asserted", instead it seems that the columns were carved in two types of stone. Some were of the spotted red and white sandstone from the region of Mathura, the others of buff-colored fine grained hard sandstone with small black spots quarried in the Chunar near Varanasi; the uniformity of style in the pillar capitals suggests that they were all sculpted by craftsmen from the same region. It would therefore seem that stone was transported from Mathura and Chunar to the various sites where the pillars have been found, there was cut and carved by craftsmen; the pillars have four component parts in two pieces: the three sections of the capitals are made in a single piece of a different stone to that of the monolithic shaft to which they are attached by a large metal dowel. The shafts are always plain and smooth, circular in cross-section tapering upwards and always chiselled out of a single piece of stone.
There is no distinct base at the bottom of the shaft. The lower parts of the capitals have the shape and appearance of a arched bell formed of lotus petals; the abaci are of two types: square and plain and circular and decorated and these are of different proportions. The crowning animals are masterpieces of Mauryan art, shown either seated or standing, always in the round and chiselled as a single piece with the abaci. All or most of the other columns that now lack them once had capitals and animals. Seven animal sculptures from Ashoka pillars survive; these form "the first important group of Indian stone sculpture", though it is thought they derive from an existing tradition of wooden columns topped by animal sculptures in copper, none of which have survived. It is possible that some of the stone pillars predate Ashoka's reign. There has been much discussion of the extent of influence from Achaemenid Persia, where the column capitals supporting the roofs at Persepolis have similarities, the "rather cold, hieratic style" of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka shows "obvious Achaemenid and Sargonid influence".
India and the Achaemenid Empire had been in close contact since the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley, from circa 500 BCE to 330 BCE. Hellenistic influence has been suggested. In particular the abaci of some of the pillars use bands of motifs, like the bead and reel pattern, the ovolo, the flame palmettes, which originated from Greek and Near-Eastern arts; such examples can be seen in the remains of the Mauryan capital city of Pataliputra. It has been suggested that 6th century Greek columns such as the Sphinx of Naxos, a 12.5m Ionic column crowned by a sitted animal in the religious center of Delphi, may have been an inspiration for the pillars of Ashoka. Many similar columns crowned by sphinxes were discovered in ancient Greece, as in Sparta, Athens or Spata, some were used as funerary steles; the Greek sphinx, a lion with the face of a human female, was considered as having ferocious strength, was thought of as a guardian flanking the entrances to temples or royal tombs. Though influence from the west is accepted the Persian columns of Achaemenid Persia, there are a number of differences
Sanchi Town is a Nagar panchayat in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is located 46 km north east of Bhopal, 10 km from Besnagar or Vidisha in the central part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Known for its "Sanchi Stupas", it is the location of several Buddhist monuments dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th CE and is one of the important places of Buddhist pilgrimage. In Mahavamsa the site is referred to as Chetiyagiri, visited by Mahinda and his mother Devi. Early votive inscription refer to the place as Kakanaya. In the Gupta period it was termed Kakanada-Bota, Bots-Shri-Parvat in the 7th century. A small hilltop village, just besides the stupa complex, is still called Kanakheda; the name Sanchi might have originated from Sanskrit and Pali word sanch meaning "to measure". In Hindi, however Sanchi or Sancha means "Moulds of Stones"; as of 2001 India census, Sanchi had a population of 6,785. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Sanchi has an average literacy rate of 67%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 75%, to female literacy is 57%.
In Sanchi, 16% of the population is under 6 years of age. There are numerous monuments at Sanchi; the main are these, using the numbers assigned by Sir Alexander Cunningham, founder of the Archaeological Survey of India, who led excavations at Sanchi in 1854, which are still used in the literature: The main terrace: Stupa 1, Stupa 3, Pillar 10, Temple 18, Temple 17. Eastern Area: Temple 45. Southern Area: Temple 40 The western slope: Monastery 51 and Stupa The Archaeological Museum Sanchi is one of a number of Buddhist sites in close vicinity of Vidisha. Other Buddhist complexes nearby are; some other Buddhist sites have been studied. On 11 September 2012, the Government of Madhya Pradesh announced the Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies, being built in collaboration with the government of Sri Lanka and Bhutan and will be located at Sanchi, in close proximity to the stupa. Designed by Sri Lankan architect SW Isurunath Bulankulame, the University will have various facilities, combined with a green landscape and usage of natural energy.
The foundation stone for the University was laid on 17 September 2012 by Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Yozyer Thinley, Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka president Bangala Upatissa Nayaka Thero, amid high security due to a massive protest being organised by MDMK leader Vaiko against Rajapaksa, who had specially arrived in Madhya Pradesh with many protesters, but stopped
Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, the largest city is Indore, with Jabalpur, Gwalior and Sagar being the other major cities. Nicknamed the "Heart of India" due to its geographical location, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest Indian state by area and the fifth largest state by population with over 75 million residents, it borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,252 km2. Before 2000, when Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India and the distance between the two furthest points inside the state and Konta, was 1500 km. Konta is presently in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh state; the area covered by the present-day Madhya Pradesh includes the area of the ancient Avanti Mahajanapada, whose capital Ujjain arose as a major city during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE.
Subsequently, the region was ruled by the major dynasties of India. By the early 18th century, the region was divided into several small kingdoms which were captured by the British and incorporated into Central Provinces and Berar and the Central India Agency. After India's independence, Madhya Pradesh state was created with Nagpur as its capital: this state included the southern parts of the present-day Madhya Pradesh and northeastern portion of today's Maharashtra. In 1956, this state was reorganised and its parts were combined with the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal to form the new Madhya Pradesh state, the Marathi-speaking Vidarbha region was removed and merged with the Bombay State; this state was the largest in India by area until 2000, when its southeastern Chhattisgarh region was made as a separate state. Rich in mineral resources, MP has the largest reserves of copper in India. More than 30% of its area is under forest cover, its tourism industry has seen considerable growth, with the state topping the National Tourism Awards in 2010–11.
In recent years, the state's GDP growth has been above the national average. Isolated remains of Homo erectus found in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley indicate that Madhya Pradesh might have been inhabited in the Middle Pleistocene era. Painted pottery dated to the mesolithic period has been found in the Bhimbetka rock shelters. Chalcolithic sites belonging to Kayatha culture and Malwa culture have been discovered in the western part of the state; the city of Ujjain arose as a major centre in the region, during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE. It served as the capital of the Avanti kingdom Tejas. Other kingdoms mentioned in ancient epics—Malava, Karusha and Nishada—have been identified with parts of Madhya Pradesh. Chandragupta Maurya united northern India around 320 BCE, establishing the tejas Mauryan Empire, which included all of modern-day Madhya Pradesh. Ashoka the greatest of Mauryan rulers brought the region under firmer control. After the decline of the Maurya empire, the region was contested among the Sakas, the Kushanas, the Satavahanas, several local dynasties during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE.
Heliodorus, the Greek Ambassador to the court of the Shunga king Bhagabhadra erected the Heliodorus pillar near Vidisha. Ujjain emerged as the predominant commercial centre of western India from the first century BCE, located on the trade routes between the Ganges plain and India's Arabian Sea ports; the Satavahana dynasty of the northern Deccan and the Saka dynasty of the Western Satraps fought for the control of Madhya Pradesh during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE. The Satavahana king Gautamiputra Satakarni inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Saka rulers and conquered parts of Malwa and Gujarat in the 2nd century CE. Subsequently, the region came under the control of the Gupta empire in the 4th and 5th centuries, their southern neighbours, the Vakataka's; the rock-cut temples at Bagh Caves in the Kukshi tehsil of the Dhar district attest to the presence of the Gupta dynasty in the region, supported by the testimony of a Badwani inscription dated to the year of 487 CE. The attacks of the Hephthalites or White Huns brought about the collapse of the Gupta empire, which broke up into smaller states.
The king Yasodharman of Malwa defeated the Huns in 528. Harsha ruled the northern parts of the state. Malwa was ruled by the south Indian Rashtrakuta Dynasty from the late 8th century to the 10th century; when the south Indian Emperor Govinda III of the Rashtrakuta dynasty annexed Malwa, he set up the family of one of his subordinates there, who took the name of Paramara. The Medieval period saw the rise of the Rajput clans, including the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand; the Chandellas built the majestic Hindu-Jain temples at Khajuraho, which represent the culmination of Hindu temple architecture in Central India. The Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty held sway in northern and western Madhya Pradesh at this time, it left some monuments of architectural value in Gwalior. Southern parts of Madhya Pradesh like Malwa were several times invaded by the south Indian Western Chalukya Empire which imposed its rule on the Paramara kingdom of Malwa; the Paramara king Bhoja was a renowned polymath.
The small Gond kingdoms emerged in the Mahakoshal regions of the state. Northern Madhya Pradesh was conquered by the Turkic Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. After the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate at the end of the 14th century, independent regional kingdoms re-emerged, including the Tomara kingdom of Gwalior and the Muslim