Whenever I come face to face with a monument that dates back to a ridiculously long time ago, I always wonder the same thing:
How is it that men with hammers, chisels and horses/elephants for transport manage to create world heritage sites that have stood the test of time? Building them in today’s day and age alone would itself be considered an impressive feat (more so since we haven’t figured out a way to make newly tarred roads last through a single monsoon.)
It was a sunny afternoon when we drove up to the sleepy little village of Sanchi, located 48 kms from Ratapani Range Retreat. In case you haven’t read my last post, it has all the deets on the beautiful guest-house in Sultanpur. Sanchi Stupa is one of the places that the hosts can take you to on a day trip.
Even before visiting Sanchi Stupa, I knew more or less what to expect. Like most Buddhist monasteries and monuments, it was an example of brilliant craftsmanship, supreme maintenance and it had the familiar sense of tranquility in the air.
As I crossed the manicured lawns, the massive monument loomed in the distance. Three spherical domes called Stupas – the first in the region, hold the relics of Buddha. It was built in the 3rd century BC by King Ashoka and was a mere brick structure that was gradually expanded to more than double its size.
As Hinduism slowly began to spread in the area, this Buddhist site began to decay until it was rediscovered in 1818 by a British Army officer who restored to its former glory.
I’m not going to get into much about the history of the Stupas (I was in too much pain from my sprained ankle to be listening to the guide) If you love history though, you can get a guide to give you a tour. However, walking around and admiring the detailed stonework is something that’s much better when done at leisure.
The four gateways depict scenes from the life of Lord Buddha, the Jatakas tales and the stories associated with Buddha in his earlier births. From him teaching his disciples to the famous Queen Maya’s dream with the descending elephant, every portion has been carved and maintained perfectly, giving more than just glimpses into life in that era. The thematic essence differs from pillar to pillar, but the style, attention to detail and creativity remains unanimous.
I think I’ll let the pi
m the Stupa. It used to be a place where monks making a pilgrimage to the Stupa used to live.
P.S. The squirrels here are bold!! They just scurry up to visitors and sniff around for food! Cheeky fellows!
Thanks for reading! As always, I’d love to know what you think about this post so comment below!
Catch ya later!