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| Last Updated:: 12/07/2016

Sanchi hill









The Hill of Sanchi is situated about 9 kilometres south-west of Vidisha in Madhaya Pradesh, India. Crowning the hilltop of Sanchi nearly 91 metres in height, a group of Buddhist monuments commands a grand view even from a distance. It is a low hill, less than 300 feet in height, of a whale-back shape, with a saddle near the middle, in which nestles the village of Sanchi from which it takes its name. As with all the neighbouring off-shoots of the Vindhyas, its formation is of sandstone, which slopes, layer upon layer, in shelving masses down its sides, wherein the Buddhist builders of old found a quarry for their stone ready to hand and easily worked.




It is unique not only in its having the most perfect and well-preserved stupas but also in its offering a wide and educative field for the study of the genesis, efflorescence and decay of Buddhist art and architecture for a period of about thirteen hundred years, from the third century B.C. to the twelfth century, A.D., almost covering the whole range of Indian Buddhism. This is rather surprising, for Sanchi was not hallowed by any incident in Buddha's life; nor is it known to have been the focus of any significant event in the history of Buddhist monachism. Hiuen Tsang, who so meticulously recorded the details connected with Buddhist monuments, is silent about it. The only possible reference to it is contained in the chronicles of Sri. Lanka, according to which Mahendra, son of Asoka and his queen Devi, daughter of a merchant of Vidisa, (modern Besnagar near Bhilsa or Vidisha) whom Asoka had married during his halt there on his way to Ujjayani as a viceroy, is said to have visited his mother at Vidisa, and the latter took him up to the beautiful monastery of Vedisagiri built by herself. Mahendra had stayed there for a month before he set out for Sri Lanka.



Sanchi hill is the place of sacred Buddhist pilgrimage. The famous English scholar James Princep who deciphered the Brahmi script in the year 1837 got his first clue from the Sanchi inscriptions. Sanchi also contains a large number of Brahmi inscriptions which are of great historical significance. The inscriptions include those from the Maurya, Shunga, Satavahana  (175-15AD) ,Kushana (100-150 AD), Gupta (600-800AD) dynasties. The inscription Ye Dhamma Helu in Temple 45 may be dated to the 9th Century AD.