Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)

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India 1949. Monuments at Sanchi.

On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. 

It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century A.D.

  • India 1949. Monuments at Sanchi. 

Sanchi is a village in the Madhya Pradesh state, in central India. Standing at the foot of a flat-topped hill, it is famous as the site of the oldest buildings in India. 

Situated 91 m (300 ft) above the plain on the summit of the hill are the principal archaeological remains, which date from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD. The site includes Buddhist topes, or stupas (hemispherical masonry monuments commemorating the death and entrance into Nirvana of Buddha), chaitya (halls of worship built in a basilican shape), and lats (memorial pillars). 
  • India 1994. Sanchi Stupa, enclosed by a balustrade of stone. 

India 1994. Sanchi Stupa, enclosed by a balustrade of stone.

The sandstone hills within a 24-km (15-mi) radius of Sanchi are studded with important archaeological sites, but the best preserved of these is the Great Stupa on Sanchi Hill. The Great Stupa is a solid dome of stone and brick, 31 m (103 ft) in diameter and 13 m (42 ft) high, surrounded at its base by a lofty terrace and enclosed by a balustrade of stone. At the top of the dome is a platform, or altar, supporting another balustrade and crowned by the sacred umbrella. Toranas (massive, richly carved gateways) stand at each of the four corners at the base of the dome. A nobleman, probably Emperor Ashoka, began construction of the mound in the 3rd century BC; it was further developed until the 1st century AD. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in India (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, India-section, for further information on the individual properties. 


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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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