Key Facts About Sanchi

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Sanchi, a world heritage site located in Madhya Pradesh, is all set to become India's first solar city.

About Sanchi:

  • Location:
    • It is located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.
    • It lies in an upland plateau region just west of the Betwa River.
  • Importance:
    • Sanchi is a religious place with historical and Archaeological significance.
    • It has India’s best-preserved group of Buddhist monuments, collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989.
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi?
    • 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.
    • The most prominent stupa found here is the Sanchi Stupa, also known as the Great Stupa.
    • Other remains at the site include several smaller stupas, an assembly hall (chaitya), an Ashokan pillar with inscriptions, and several monasteries (4th–11th century CE).

Key Facts about Sanchi Stupa:

  • It was built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the third century BC. 
  • It enshrines religious relics or remains of the Buddha and his most revered disciples.
  • Structure:
    • It is enclosed by a massive stone railing pierced by four gateways, which are adorned withelaborate carvings (known as Sanchi sculpture).
    • The stupa itself consists of a base bearing a hemispherical dome (anda), symbolizing the dome of heaven enclosing the earth.
    • It is surmounted by a squared rail unit (harmika) representing the world mountain, from which rises a mast (yashti), symbolizing the cosmic axis. 
    • The mast bears umbrellas (chatras) that represent the various heavens (devaloka).


Q1) What is a UNESCO World Heritage site?

World Heritage Sites are cultural and/or natural sites considered to be of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, which have been inscribed on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee.

Source: MP's Sanchi to become India's first solar city