Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi : A perfect Pilgrimage For Self
Plan a trip to the Buddhist Monastery at Sanchi, designated as a World Heritage site for its historical and archaeological importance. Located to the north - east of Bhopal, the Buddhist stupas have a distinction of remarkable specimen of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples, stupas and monasteries. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until 12th century AD.
On a hill in the vicinity of a small village Sanchi in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 46 km from the city of Bhopal, stand the oldest Buddhist Stupas. They are over 2000 years old. In Buddhism, the stupas symbolize the holy tree of life and the enlightenment. Sanchi is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centre. In contrast to other pilgrimage sites of the buddhism, Sanchi does not stand in direct connection with life of Buddha, but rather with emperor Ashoka. After the death of Buddha, there was the period of great Maurya emperor Ashoka (reigned around 268 B.C. to 232 B.C.), who after fighting several wars and killing thousands of people converted himself to the religion of Buddhism and helped it to spread it in the whole country. He sent his son and daughter to various countries of Asia including Srilanka to preach Buddhism and spread its teachings. During Ashoka period Buddhism reached its glorious period. He should have erected 84,000 large and small Stupas in honour of Buddha. His roll in the buddhism is comparable with the concernment of Constantine, the great for Christianity.
The most famous building of Sanchi is the hemispherical brick structure, the Great Stupa. It consists of a terrace shaped substructure, the actual Stupa. This is surrounded by four portals decorated with sculptures. Thereon is a platform, that is crowned by a conical spiral. The Stupa of Sanchi is 17 meters high and accepted by the scientists as the ideal type of the Buddhist Stupa. It is a massive, windowless relic shrine and fulfills alone a symbolic function: Expression of own believes, signpost for others, the teachings of Buddha to follow. According to the legend, every Stupa accommodates at least an ash grain of Buddha. The four entrances to go round the Stupas are decorated with four magnificent grand gates.
The extremely living and detailed relief in these gates give a presentation of the high mastery of the stonemason art during the old period in India and of life in that time. Each gate varies at the same time an own head subject: The western gate shows the seven incarnations of Buddha, the first sermon of Buddha and the temptations of Buddhas. At the southern gate, the scenes are depicted relating to the birth of Buddha. The eastern gate shows Gautama Buddha leaving his fatherly palace in order to seek the truth in the seclusion. Best preserved is the artistically most important northern gate. It shows scenes in detailed about the accomplishment of Buddha,s life and the miracles that are ascribed to Buddha.
For the numerous visitors from all over the world, these gates represent the actual glorious period of the temple place of Sanchi. Simultaneously the place is used yet today as a peaceful place of mediation and symbolize sympathy, tolerance and peaceableness.
The story of discovery of the place, where the historical stupas situated, is also very interesting. In 1818 British officer, General Taylor, suddenly bumped into the ruins. In 1881 began professional restoration working. Between 1912 and 1919 resulted under the direction of the archeologist Sir John Marshall further restorations through which the buildings were brought in the seeing condition of today. Since 1989 the Stupas and the surrounding buildings (temples, gates, monasteries and other religious buildings) of Sanchi are listed by the UNESCO in the list of world cultural heritage sites.
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